As the world becomes introduced (in a big way) to swimming superstarMissy Franklinin the next week, Americans have to keep reminding themselves how lucky they are to call Franklin their own.
That’s because, after all, she could have been Canadian.
The story will be old-hat for those who have been watching Franklin on the international scene since she first made an appearance for team USA at the 2009 Duel in the Pool when she was only 14 years old. When Franklin first started to show signs of greatness.
At that point, Franklin had to have a serious discussion with her parents. One that many parents hope to never have with their child at that age. They had to ask her if she wanted to be a Canadian.
Franklin’s parents are both from Canada, and so Missy has dual citizenship. She can only represent one country competitively, though, and being so fast so young, she had to make the call early in life. Her mother suggested that it might be an easier path to the National Team through Canada, where the depth is not nearly what is seen at American Championship meets. Having been born and raised in the United States (she’s originally from Pasadena), though, Missy felt a patriotism toward the Stars & Stripes that she just could not ignore.
And now, Franklin is about to embark upon a 7-event Olympic journey, more races than any woman in U.S. History has attempted. It would be a tall task to take gold medals in all 7 (the biggest challenges will be the 400 free relay, the 100 free, and the 200 free), but she seems destined for at least 5 medals. The Canadian women haven’t won a medal since the 1996 Games in Atlanta.
More importantly than American being lucky to have her, swimming is lucky to have her. Franklin might be the most charismatic swimmer ever to come along. She’s well-spoken, she dances, she understands her job as a role-model, but never forgets to have fun.
After London, Missy is gonig to connect with a young generation of athletes like the sport has never seen before. Go Canada, Go USA, and Go Swimming.