American Teen Becomes The First Woman To Win 6 Gold Medals At A World Championship

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If you aren’t familiar with the name Missy Franklin, then get familiar! She is a swimming powerhouse and is set to become one of those legends in sporting history.

At the young age of 18 she has already achieved a lot. She is a four-time Olympic gold medalist who is rewriting swimming’s record books.

On Sunday, aged 18, Franklin helped the U.S. women’s relay team to victory in the 4 x 100 meter medley at the world championships in Barcelona, giving her a record sixth gold medal of the meeting — an unprecedented total for a female swimmer.

In fact only one person has won more gold medals in a single world championship than her, and that is fellow countryman Michael Phelps. He took seven golds at the 2007 event in Melbourne. But because Phelps is now a swimming retiree, that leaves a lot of time for Missy to dominate and pass even his record. You go girl!

The only other woman to win six golds at a world championships or Olympics is East German Kristin Otto at the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul.

That’s not the only amazing thing about the young woman dubbed “Missy the Missile” in the pool. She describes herself as Hannah Montana, to CNN’s Tom Mcgowan.

“During the week I’m totally Missy, going to school every day and going to practice and just totally being me. But then at the weekend I’m flying out to the Golden Globes, going to these different events. It’s crazy. It feels like I live a double life sometimes.”

She famously turned down becoming a pro in favor of going to college. The thought of earning millions of dollars in endorsements and doing what she loves for a living can wait, as she knew having a college education will give her longevity in her career after she hangs up her goggles. Smart girl.

She also swapped Colorado for California, choosing to swim for the University of California’s “Golden Bears.” She plans to join the professional ranks after the 2015 NCAA Championships. Juggling swimming with academia is now her biggest concern.

“All the work is very hard to keep up with, but all my teachers and my friends are awesome at helping me catch up with homework. It’s all about time management. Swimming has to happen and homework has to happen, so it’s figuring out how to get those things to work together.”

She takes her career and public image seriously, and wants to inspire others to get involved in the sport.

She is making a documentary film called ‘The Current’ with fellow American swimmer Mallory Weggemann — a Paralympic gold medalist — aimed at encouraging people with physical disabilities to take up scuba diving.

“We’re making an inspirational documentary about helping people with physical disabilities find a passion for scuba diving,” said Franklin.

“To help them realize that, even if you have a disability, it doesn’t mean you can’t do these things — you might just have to do it a little bit differently.

“You can be free, you can let go of everything. That’s one of my favorite things about swimming, no matter how hard my day was or how tired I am, I can just get into the pool and it doesn’t matter.

“We’re all equal when we get into the water, it’s just us and the water. The water treats us all exactly the same.”

What an amazing teenager who is a great inspiration for others who are looking to balance career aspirations with college, society pressures and everything in between. Goes to show there is nothing you can’t achieve if you are determined, focused and surround yourself with the right people.

Perhaps the self-described “Hannah Montana” could show the real HM, Miley Cyrus, a thing or two about being a positive role model for girls everywhere. Take note Miley…

Missy Franklin

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