Whenever a superstar wunderkind catches national attention that seems to-good-to-be-true both within their chosen profession and outside of it, there’s always a bug in the back of the public’s head about how much of it is genuine, and how much of it is a show (see Amanda Bynes, Lindsay Lohan).
But for those who are wondering about our very own newest superstar: Missy Franklin is the real deal. She’s purely genuine, purely class, and purely spectacular.
Since rising to national attention beginning with NBC’s Olympic hype-up in the spring, she’s thrown herself after a number of charitable causes. When she was at the Olympic training camp in Tennessee, she heard about a fundraiser auction to send the family of a member of the Paralympic swim team to London to watch their daughter swim.
Missy called up her mom and told her to donate a free Missy franklin swim lesson. So overwhelmed was the 17-year old by the response, raising over $1,700, that she offered a second lesson to the second-highest bidder, which they snapped up with joy. All-told, she raised almost $3,500 purely on her own ambitions to help.
Her latest endeavor will be as a part of the third annual Stand Up to Cancer telethon. She will join superstars like Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Justin Timberlake on the tv event that will spain more than 16 channels on Friday from 7 to 8 PM Eastern Time. The festivities kick off at 2PM, and Missy will man the phone bank along with fellow Olympian, and gymnast Gabby Douglas. Among the stations airing the special are all of the major networks (CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC), VH1 (to capture some huge musical performances from groups like Coldplay) and HBO.
The program has raised more than $180 million since 2008, as it awards grants to multidisciplinary research “Dream Teams” that are using new and innovative methods to cure and treat cancer. Donations can be made online here, or better yet, call in during the show and you might just get the chance to talk to Missy Franklin.
Franklin is an athletic specimen. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it a thousand more times if I have to: the swimming community is lucky to have gotten her.