ESPN’s popular sports highlight show Sportscenter has named Missy Franklin the top athlete in the country under the age of 20.
The 5-time Olympic medalist doesn’t even turn 18 until May, and yet is a World Record holder in four different events: the 200 backstroke in both short course and long course, plus the 400 medley relay over both distances.
She beat out Texas A&M quarterback Johnny “Football” Manziel (who apparently still qualifies despite turning 20 in December), the winner of the 2012 Heisman Trophy as the best college football player in the nation. He was the first freshman to ever win that award. In third was New Orleans Hornets basketballer Anthony Davis, an Olympic gold medalist himself as a member of Team USA, who was the number one pick overall in last year’s NBA draft.
Franklin, who is actually the same height or taller than the footballer Manziel, has been nominated for many awards since her impressive Olympic run, but has lost out on many to gymnast Gabby Douglas, who at only 17 was surprisingly not in this top 3.
This piece coincides with the release earlier this month of ESPN’s NEXT issue that identifies young athletes at both the professional and amateur level who are living up to the hype.
ESPN will likely run the piece on Sportscenter, which begins about every hour on the hour through tomorrow morning.