The 17-year-old now has something Phelps doesn’t have thus far: a perch atop a podium in London, after winning gold in the 100-meter backstroke. The 6-foot-1 Franklin is the second-youngest U.S. swimmer in these Games, and put her considerable length to good use. Devouring the pool in big strokes down the final 50 meters, Franklin charged from second place after the turn, overtaking Australia’s Emily Seebohm in the final 50 and winning gold in 58.33 seconds.
In an exclamation that fits her youthful stature, Franklin said of the gold: "It exceeds my expectation 100 billion times.”
It’s the second medal of the Games for Franklin, who also captured bronze in the 4x100 freestyle relay. Perhaps more amazingly, Franklin won the gold less than 15 minutes after qualifying for the finals of the 200-meter freestyle. The two races were so close together that Franklin didn’t even return to the warm-down pool in between, choosing instead to warm down in the diving pool while other races continued.
[ Photos: Ryan Lochte loses steam in London ]
A Colorado native, Franklin has been compared to Phelps for her versatility, long stature and ability to gobble up opponents in her long strokes. At the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb., Franklin qualified for an astonishing seven events, including four individual events and three relays. She will be the first woman in the history of the Olympics to compete in seven events. However, she admitted before the Games started that she never called Phelps for advice – despite the star’s offer of assistance. Two medals later, maybe she doesn’t need advice after all.
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