Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national level swimmer based out of Victoria, BC. In feeding his passion for swimming, he has developed YourSwimBook, a powerful log book and goal setting guide made specifically for swimmers. Sign up for the YourSwimBook newsletter (free) and get weekly motivational tips by clicking here.
The bright and smiley face of Missy Franklin is easily recognizable amongst the landscape of high-calibre swimmers. She was the darling of the women’s swim team in London, and was heavily featured in the Carly Rae Jepsen lip-synch video that went ballistic across social media in the run-up to the Games.
Here are six other little things you may not have known about one of the greatest swimmers in the world–
1. For Canadians she will always be the one that got away.
Missy Franklin was born in Pasadena to Canadian parents. When she was just 12 years old, with the Beijing trials just a year off, her parents sat her down and asked her what country she wanted to compete for. Citing her patriotism for the USA as the main factor in her decision, she elected not to take the easier route and swim for the Canadian National Team in later years, even though her mother suggested that she go the Canadian route in order to avoid the much more difficult challenge of qualifying for a competitive US squad.
2. Her dad played professional football in Canada for the Toronto Argonauts.
Hailing from St. Catharines, Ontario, Dick Franklin was a stand-out football player at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. He was drafted by the Toronto Argonauts and after injuries sidelined his career, he returned to Halifax – this time to attend Dalhousie – to get his MBA. It was at Dalhousie that Dick met his future wife, a medical student named D.A.
3. She had a cameo in the movie “The Internship.”
I am a huge fan of the movie Wedding Crashers. (“Lock it up! You lock it up! You better lock it up!”) So when I saw the previews for The Internship my first thought was to throw my bronze replica Golden Goggles Award through the television.
Once the movie was out, and had been in theatres for sufficient amount of time, I checked the old IMDB to see how much the citizens of the internet hated it (turned out to be rated a not-so-bad 6.2/10).
The scene she filmed – with the appearance fee cancelled in order to keep amateur status — where she runs into the tandem of Vaughn-Wilson at Google HQ was left on the cutting room floor due to the film running well over in length.
4. The “Missy the Missile” Nickname Comes from Her Pops.
Some parents give their kids awful names, let alone nicknames. Godzilla, Ca-Ca Head, Hitler. And while some kids may hate their nicknames (even Missy Franklin did at first), Missy has grown to embrace hers over the years that was originally given to her by her old man.
5. As a 13 year old she went to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials.
For those not well-versed in the world of competitive swimming, the London Olympics was her big coming out party. While she had been making strides on the National and international scene for years, she also qualified as a 13 year old for the 2008 Trials. Her best result was placing 38th in the 100 free, giving her a sneak peek at the stage she would crown four years later.
6. She is built for speed.
Most people know that Missy stands at 6’1. But she also has a wing-span that is three inches wider than she is tall at 6 feet 4 inches. (A certain Mr. Phelps also possesses this characteristic – standing 6’4 with a 6’7 wingspan.) Perhaps most notable is the size of her hands, which are 8.5 inches from finger-tip to wrist, which gives her the ability to palm an NBA-sized basketball.
Some of Missy’s recent achievements*:
- Swimming World’s World Swimmer of the Year.
- FINA Swimmer of the Year – 2011, 2012.
- First woman to successfully swim a 25 yard backstroke on Mars.
- Swept the 100 and 200 backstroke at the London Olympics. (4 Olympic golds + 1 silver altogether).
- Won 6 gold medals at 2013 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona.
* One of these is completely and utterly made-up. You decide.
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