Missy Franklin: Race-by-Race Review of Her 2012 Olympics
It's going to take a long time for Missy Franklin's smile to wear off. She was simply divine in London at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Heading into these Games, we had all heard about the potential of America's newest swimming star, but her performances throughout the London Games proved that she was more than just hype.
With that in mind, let's take a quick journey through Franklin's 2012 Olympic experience.
4x100-Meter Freestyle Relay Final
Missy Franklin's first chance for a medal came on Day 1, July 28.
She was the first swimmer to go for the Americans in this relay, and though she's better in the backstroke than she is in the freestyle, Franklin put the U.S. team in first place when she was finished with her leg, posting a time of 53.52 seconds.
Unfortunately, her teammates couldn't hold the lead, and the Americans took the bronze medal. It wasn't what they had hoped for, but it was an auspicious start for young Franklin.
Grade: A- (only because of the end result)
100-Meter Backstroke Final
On Day 3, July 30, Missy Franklin got her first taste of gold. It's safe to say from this picture that the experience was a bit overwhelming—in a good way.
Franklin was the top women's backstroker in the world leading up to the Olympics. She posted the fastest times, and barring nerves, sickness or injury, she was supposed to do well in this event.
She didn't disappoint.
Franklin won the race with at time of 58.33 seconds—a new American record—and she blew away her competition in the process.
200-Meter Freestyle Final
Missy Franklin experienced her first big disappointment of the 2012 Olympic Games on Day 4, July 31.
The 200-meter freestyle turned out to be Allison Schmitt's big stage, and Franklin just missed out on a podium appearance, finishing in fourth place.
It wasn't a bad race by Franklin, though. Far from it.
Schmitt set an Olympic record in this race, and Franklin just couldn't quite keep up with the world's best freestylers.
4x200-Meter Freestyle Relay Final
The next day, Missy Franklin more than made up for her fourth-place finish in the 200-meter freestyle by helping her relay team set a new Olympic record on their way to winning the gold medal in the 4x200-meter freestyle.
As I've mentioned before, Franklin isn't as good in the freestyle events as she is with her backstroke. That said, she kept Team USA in the race on the first leg, posting a time of 1 minute, 55.96 seconds to put her team in third place.
Nobody expected her to be the one to win the race. That was Allison Schmitt's job, and boy, did she ever fulfill those expectations.
For her part, Franklin held up her end of the bargain.
100-Meter Freestyle Final
Franklin experienced her second disappointment in the 2012 Olympics on Day 6, August 2.
She didn't perform badly in the 100-meter freestyle, but Ranomi Kromowidjojo was spectacular, breaking an Olympic record in her gold-medal swim.
Franklin was only 64-hundredths of a second off Kromowidjojo's mark, but her effort was only good for fifth place.
So while it was surely disappointing for Franklin to miss out on the podium for the second time in three days, she could still hold her head high knowing she performed well under the circumstances.
200-Meter Backstroke Final
If Missy Franklin was frustrated by her failure to medal in the 100-meter freestyle, then she did an excellent job of turning it into positive energy for her next final.
Franklin was like a bat out of hell in the 200-meter backstroke. She unleashed all of her potential and smashed the old world record by more than half a second, winning the gold medal with ease.
The next-best competitor finished the race almost two full seconds behind her.
4x100-Meter Medley Relay Final
Missy Franklin's final race of the 2012 Olympics was a gem. She and the rest of the American swimmers dominated from the start—thanks to Franklin's excellent work in the first leg—and they set another world record in the process of earning another gold medal.
Franklin proved that she's the world's premier women's backstroker in these Olympic Games, and the scary part is that she's only 17 years old. She's set to go back to high school in a few weeks—if you can believe that.
Franklin still has a long ways to go before we can legitimately compare her to Michael Phelps, but so far, she's off to a terrific start.
Final Grade: A+