There are two options for an American high school age swimmer after she dominates in the Olympics. One, she can go pro and make a ton of money in endorsement deals or, two, she can stay amateur and still be able to compete at high school and college levels. 17-year-old Missy Franklin, who snatched up a handful of medals at the 2012 Summer Games in London, has chosen to do the latter so that she can continue swimming for her Colorado high school and help them win a state title.
"The best part of staying amateur is that I am still able to do things like this," Franklin said told the Wall Street Journal following a recent swim meet. "I have given up so much for that."
Unfortunately, students from competing schools, their parents and coaches don't seem to care how much Franklin has given up and are acting like a bunch of big-ass pool babies about it. Saltiest of all, perhaps, are the supporters of Cherry Creek, the high school who, prior to the arrival of Franklin, were viewed as the "New York Yankees of Colorado girls' swimming."
Facing off with Franklin's Regis Jesuit High School this evening, the folks of Cherry Creek seem to be wasting a lot of time talking smack. Says one Cherry Creek mother, "It's sort of defeating. [Franklin's] won so many gold medals. I don't know what you're there to prove." (I don't know — that she loves swimming and wants her classmates to win a title, maybe?)
Cherry Creek coach Eric Craven got in on it, too, saying, "If they didn't have her, they had no chance of winning."
Oh, look. Even people who Missy beat before going to the Olympics are starting to throw shade. From the Wall Street Journal:
"It's really frustrating when Missy kind of shines above everything," said Bonnie Brandon, who before graduating last spring was Colorado's greatest-ever female high-school swimmer next to Franklin. "She's No. 1 in the world, and No. 1 in the state, and then I'm No. 2 in the state.…It's just hard being in close proximity," said Brandon, now a University of Arizona swimming star.
Why do you keep eating those sour grapes, girl?
I'm sure it must be incredibly intimidating for a 14-18-year-old to swim against Missy Franklin, just as I'm sure it was intimidating for a 14-18-year-old to play basketball against a high school aged LeBron James or for a 12-17-year-old Quidditch player to go against Viktor Krum when he was still at Durmstrang (P.S. I don't do sports), but the fact of the matter is that it's well within Franklin's rights to compete. Sometimes in sports (and in life), you are going to be forced to compete against someone who is exponentially better than you. That's okay! You're okay! Besides, next year, Missy Franklin will be off swimming for UC Berkeley and you can all go back to fighting to see who is the best at being pretty-good-but-not-super-great swimmers at a high school level.