Here’s how WSJ described Missy Franklin, who just won a gold in the 100-meter backstroke only 11 minutes after swimming a qualifier for the 200-meter freestyle, this morning.
Missy Franklin, Olympic Radical
She’s the latest incarnation of Mary Lou Retton, Mia Hamm and Michelle Kwan.
But when it comes to the Olympics and the world of elite swimming in 2012, that first impression is a deception. Franklin, the 6-foot-1, soon-to-be high-school senior from Centennial, Colo., isn’t just an athlete who questions the conventional doctrine of Olympic stardom: She rejects it entirely. Missy Franklin, America’s new love, is a Bolshevik in swim goggles.
One standout is Franklin’s devotion to remaining an amateur. Before these Games, she has resisted all temptation to cash in on her talent and swim professionally. “I really, really want to swim in college,” she told the Journal earlier this year. She has turned down roughly $100,000 in prize money and several multiples of that in endorsements. [my emphasis]
It is now radical for a young woman to forgo Wheaties money so she can get a free college education and continue living a relatively normal young adulthood. A 17-year old passing up instant cash is a Bolshevik.
Remarkably, Missy Franklin somehow managed to find some kind of motivation to win gold for something other than money.
Imagine that: a young American striving for personal excellence and her country, rather than money? We’re definitely going to have to purge the Olympic program after this scandal.
Update: I realize now having watched the qualifier it was in freestyle, not backstroke.