The 17-year-old swimmer locked down her first gold medal with an epic finish in the 100-meter backstroke. But while capturing the medal is impressive in and of itself, it's the way she did it that has truly captivated an international audience.
Franklin, who was booming with emotion after donning her new gold bling, won the event a mere 14 minutes after competing in the semifinal heat of the 200-meter freestyle — a turnaround so grueling even Phelps has never had to endure it.
As the Olympic games finally got underway early this week, it appeared that Ryan Lochte was destined to carry the U.S. Swimming flame with Phelps seemingly tumbling back to mortality. But now, as Lochte has faltered on multiple occasions, it's becoming increasingly apparent that Franklin may actually be the one destined for the throne.
Franklin is still but a teenage sensation and could well be just another talented American. But as she was overcome with emotion and completely overwhelmed by the magnitude of the situation, Franklin remained.
There was no overly-confident attitude or an appearance of unregulated joy. Instead, Franklin basked in the glory for a few moments before turning to her opponents and offering hugs of sincere appreciation and congratulations. It was just a true and genuine moment from what appears to be one of the most endearing and enthralling Olympians in recent memory.
Michael Johnson was the fastest man in the world, but he also came off as cocky and narcissistic. The same goes for Phelps and Usain Bolt — who isn't American, but still a megastar — although to a lesser degree. Marion Jones always seemed too self-interested and Tyson Gay just hasn't lived up to the expectations set before him.
Lochte appeared set to overtake the chair, but he seems rather arrogant, not to mention you can't watch a single Olympic event without having him marketed down your throat like a bottle of Coke. Franklin, meanwhile, will likely leave more than $200,000 on the table at these Olympics, as she refuses to turn professional and therefore can't even profit from her successes.
The girl is more bubbly than a baby in a bathtub and is probably more likeable, too. She gives off the impression of a humble youngster with nothing but grace and appreciation for her fortunate situation. She's clearly worked unbelievably hard to achieve such a lofty stature, and to do it with such class makes it that much more enjoyable.
So while the world continues to focus on the likes of Lochte and Phelps — as they should — just beware of Franklin's presence because she could well be the talk of the Olympics for not just this year, but for the next decade. A deserved honor for such an accomplished person.
Photo of the Night
Apparently Dirk Nowitzki's wedding quickly became a conga line. Looking good, kid!
Quote of the Night
"I'm not used to standing like that. Four or five hours just killed me."
–Nicolas Batum on the Opening Ceremonies impacting France's 27-point loss to USA on Sunday
Tweet of the Night
You'll get a hit sometime, don't worry.
Jason Bay getting hugs from his teammates in the dugout. He hasn't been traded, they just want to keep him from crying.
— Metstradamus (@Metstradamus) July 31, 2012
Video of the Night
Word choice, Jerry?