Franklin off to golden start at Games

Ed Klajman
Posted 8/3/12

LONDON - Missy Franklin’s once-in-a-lifetime summer adventure is off to a blazing start at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Three days into the …

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Franklin off to golden start at Games

LONDON - Missy Franklin’s once-in-a-lifetime summer adventure is off to a blazing start at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Three days into the swimming competition, Franklin had already picked up her first Olympic gold, winning the women’s 100-meter backstroke on Monday, to go along with a bronze she captured in the women’s 4X100 relay the day before.
Franklin won the 100 back in 58.33 seconds, edging Emily Seebohm of Australia (58.68) and Aya Terakawa of Japan (58.83).
“It’s incredible. I dreamt about it all my life and I can’t believe it happened at 17 (years old),” Franklin said about winning the gold. “I cannot put it into words, it’s incredible. I still feel like I am in a dream and someone has to pinch me.”
Her gold-winning performance came after a whirlwind first few days before she even started competing, which can be quite taxing, even on someone like Franklin whose boundless energy has become legendary in the swimming world.
“It’s definitely hard,” said the Regis Jesuit High School senior-to-be at Team USA’s pre-competition press conference. “This week has been so exciting, going to France for the first time, coming to the Olympics for the first time. When we arrived to pick up our uniforms, I was literally bouncing off the walls. I know I have lot of energy but I know when I have to conserve it until, which is just before I race.” 
The Centennial resident added that it has been important to get a lot of guidance from the strong U.S. swimming team support system around her, especially coach Teri McKeever.
“I’ve reached out to everyone. Teri’s done a great job of getting the veterans and rookies together. I felt so prepared. It makes me so much more comfortable while I’m here.”
Franklin was also asked about the tragic shootings that occurred near her home on the eve of the Games.
“Even though it was 3 a.m., I called my mom. She was still up. It was so senseless. I’m hoping for a lot of fun here to make up for the tough summer Colorado’s just had,” she said.
As for her first taste of competition, the 17-year-old known as “Missy the Missile” was excited that it came in a relay, where she could share the experience with teammates. But at the same time, she said it was odd because she didn’t have the routine of a morning swim in advance. It meant her first swim of these Games was the 4X100 final on the first night.
“It’s really weird having a first race be a final. I’m not used to that. But it was so exciting and so much fun,” she said, explaining that she was full of anticipation and a bit nervous, which is to be expected.
“You always have those first race nerves, but having it be a final made me more excited because I knew it would be a full crowd,” said Franklin, who got her start in the sport with the Heritage Green Gators. “I was going out there for one chance and one chance only and I think we did great.”
Australia won the gold in the event, with the world champion Dutch coming second.

Day two brought the heats for the 100 backstroke in the morning, followed by the semifinals at night.
She advanced comfortably to Monday night’s final, although she didn’t finish first. Australian rival Seebohm finished ahead of her, setting an Olympic record in doing so.
“It was awesome, I am so happy,” Franklin said after the semis. “Watching Emily break the Olympic record was amazing. It was absolutely unbelievable. She did such a good job.”
Franklin’s 100 back final Monday was followed by a grueling schedule featuring five more events between Tuesday and Saturday - the 200 freestyle, 4X200 freestyle relay, 100 freestyle, 200 backstroke and 4X100 medley relay.


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