She finished 51st at the Beijing Olympics, but you wouldn’t know that by the media storm Leryn Franco has enjoyed over the last four years.
And more of it has to do with beauty than her ability to throw a javelin with the best in the world.
Every picture, every comment, every article. They all relate to the same thing; sometimes beauty trumps the abilities of one of the world’s best athletes.
And even if Franco, who turned 30 this year, is more known for her looks as one of the world’s most beautiful models than her athletic prowess, she, like other female athletes on the track, or in the pool or on the field, is using her looks for celebrity and making her sport as important as any her male counterparts may participate in.
Are you listening, David Beckham and Tom Brady?
Franco, a native of Paraguay, is not in London because of a bikini spread (which she has been in many and has been scrutinized by men over and over again) or the way she was photographed in an evening dress. This woman is talented.
But frankly, it does not matter where she finishes in these games. Her celebrity is enough. We are so used to seeing the foreign athletes differently than they are today: big, thick, hulking, almost scary.
Franco is demure, pristine and elegant.
And because she is an international star and is equally appealing to the Hispanic fans as well as English speaking countries, her universal appeal is a goldmine for these Olympics as well as ones to follow. And I am talking decades down the road.
A new wave of female athletes have graced the world and maybe that is for the better. It sure makes for better television and more entertaining for the reality shows.
But truthfully, it is better for the world, the fans, the IOC and those of us who cover the sports like these for the beauty of the games, and now, the beauty of it participants.