So you're a high school-swimming hotshot. You turn up at your regional meet and look around at a bunch of people you've already beaten this year.
Then you look next to you. And it's Missy Franklin. And she's not just there to show off her five Olympic medals, four gold.
And she enjoys swimming for her high school, Regis Jesuit, which sent her off to the Olympics with a pep rally and a surprise appearance by a Denver Bronco. You won't see many Olympians who can get their school's priest to dance like that.
The pressure to go pro was immense before the Games. But she has defiantly remained a typical, albeit hyper-achieving, high school kid.
Franklin may still be able to pocket a good bit of money without jeopardizing her eligibility in campus swimming, though the Denver Post's Mark Kiszla reports a bit of NCAA bureaucratic befuddlement on the issue.
But barring a change of heart, Franklin's going to be right back in the thick of things for the Regis Jesuit Raiders this winter, providing the margin of victory in close dual meets.
Good thing she doesn't play boys' soccer, where the powers that be are pushing the top thousand or so players out of high school sports.
The money might be hard to turn down in the long run. No one could blame Franklin if she finally crossed the one-way bridge from scholastic sports to the bankrolled ranks.
But this country is already full of joyless big-money sports. And the rest of the world seems content to keep athletes from seeing their families in times of need, much less live alongside their less-athletic friends.
So isn't it refreshing to think that a dominant Olympic swimmer still has a chance to be a kid?
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