|ESPN.com: ESPNW||[Print without images]|
|Franklin won the gold medal and set a world record in 200 backstroke in London.|
This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's Dec. 10 Interview issue. Subscribe today!
WAYNE DREHS: You arrived in London a 17-year-old full of promise and left a five-time Olympic medalist. Does it seem crazy when you think back now?
MISSY FRANKLIN: It seems insane, like I made the whole thing up. When I pull my medals out at the airport, I sort of sit back and realize, I'm taking an Olympic gold medal through security. And it's my Olympic gold medal.
DREHS: Where do you keep them?
FRANKLIN: My trainer wanted to see them. So I was like, "Dad, where are my medals?" He told me he had put them in a safe-deposit box. I'm like, "Were
DREHS: You get mail by the boxload now. Anybody ask you on a date?
FRANKLIN: One boy sent me flowers and left his number. I called him and said, "Thank you, this is very sweet, but my schedule is quite busy right now."
DREHS: Wait. You called him?
FRANKLIN: He went through all of that trouble to send me flowers ... of course I'm going to call him and thank him!
DREHS: Justin Bieber sent you a care package. Despite having Bieber Fever, you sent it back. Why?
FRANKLIN: It was really sweet of him. But it was considered a form of special treatment that could have jeopardized my amateur status. I've given up way too much and sacrificed too much to keep a Justin Bieber T-shirt and lose it all. So I sent it back.
DREHS: You decided to swim collegiately at Cal, turning down potentially millions in endorsement money. Why?
FRANKLIN: College swimming can help me mature as an athlete. Oh my gosh, I have so much to learn as a swimmer and a person. My underwaters aren't anywhere near where I want them to be. I'm a pretty strong puller, but my kicking is weak. I can't wait to go to Cal next fall, but that means I'll be leaving home. And every time we talk about that my parents and I start crying.
Follow The Mag on Twitter (@ESPNmag) and like us on Facebook.