Earlier this week, last night in particular, Missy Franklin seemed to be, in her own words, “sluggish”. Last night, Franklin did not make the Olympic team in the 100 back, an event she won gold in at 2012 London Olympics.
With her so-called sluggish swims, the crowd and fans seemed to be reflect the same. Many critiqued her swims and even made statements that she would not make the team.
Tonight, she did. She placed second in the women’s 200 freestyle, and also making it on the 800 free relay.
Last night, after not making the Olympic team in the 100 back, her fellow backstroke swimmers from the heat swam towards her lane. Instead of half getting out of the pool one side, and half the other, they all swam to lane 1 where Franklin had swum her event. Each backstroker hugged her; something that sent chills down my spine and made me proud of this sport.
And tonight, after having an emotional few days, she made the Olympic team and the crowd erupted. While there has been so many back and forth comments on her, her performances, her training and her olympic chance, the “fans” were fans once again.
Nobody was sure what was going to happen in the 200 freestyle final, with having such an impressive and fast heat. With the favorite being Ledecky, the second place spot was for grabs. Franklin ended up holding her own and coming back to get her hand on the wall first (well… second).
Once Franklin touched the wall second behind Katie Ledecky, fans were roaring, celebrating with Franklin once again. It was the loudest the Omaha crowd has been yet this meet. The support for her was felt when almost every person was standing and cheering, for her.
It was a good reminder that we are all human, and swimming is a hard sport. It is even more impressive to watch an American favorite still punch her ticket to Rio after having what she calls a “sluggish” few days.