Just a few months into her professional career, Missy Franklin has earned distinction as the world’s 4th-most-marketable athlete in SportsPro’s annual rankings.
Though the top 10 haven’t gone up yet on the official SportsPro website, NBC Sports reported earlier today that Franklin will check in at #4 on this list.
Franklin, of course, starred at the 2012 Olympic Games for the United States before making a college commitment to the University of California. Franklin swam two seasons in Berkeley and led the Golden Bears to a national title earlier this year.
The plan had long been for Franklin to turn pro after just two collegiate seasons, and this lofty ranking is a pretty good explanation on why that seemed like the logical move for Franklin. Just 20 years old, Franklin is already a world record-holder and the owner of four Olympic gold medals. On top of her extensive in-the-pool accolades, Franklin is a confident public speaker with an outgoing, bubbly personality that makes her a marketing dream.
This is Franklin’s third season on the list. She started at #20 in 2013, after her breakout performances in London, and moved up to #8 last year. She is the only swimmer on this year’s list.
According to NBC Sports, the SportsPro rankings take into account a whole host of factors for each athlete, including “value for money, age, home market, charisma, willingness to be marketed and crossover appeal.” The rankings predict which athletes will be most marketable over the next three years.
NBC reports that Franklin trails only Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard, Brazilian soccer player Neymar and American golfer Jordan Spieth.