COMMENTARY | Missy Franklin has reached another difficult decision. The 17-year-old Olympic swimmer has decided that she will, in fact, participate as a member of her high school swimming team during her senior year.
Initially, Franklin had said she wasn't sure whether she would compete with the Aurora, Colo.,-based Regis Jesuit High School swim team. Before making the commitment to swim, Franklin was concerned that additional media attention would impact the other swimmers on the team.
It certainly is a legitimate concern. During her junior season, Franklin and teammates regularly saw large numbers of news media and fans turn out to watch her swim. Since then, the teen sensation has won five Olympic medals and become the darling of USA Swimming. Needless to say, her popularity has risen.
I find Franklin's concern and decision to be both unique and impressive. The 17-year-old already has chosen to pass on hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to remain an amateur so that she can swim in college with the California Golden Bears. That alone tell us how important being a member of a team is to Franklin.
With her most recent concern, though, Franklin has proven what many fans and followers already knew to be true: Being a part of the team isn't all about her. Sure, she enjoys being involved and participating with her teammates, but her concern shows that she's also willing to put her team ahead of herself.
The mindset shouldn't come as a surprise. It's the kind of moral fiber and grace that Franklin has displayed throughout her time in the public eye, and it's one of the reasons that the bubbly teenager has become so popular among fans and competitors alike.
Franklin was able to reach her decision after meeting with high school coach and high school athletic director. The two assured Franklin and her family that her presence wouldn't impact the team too highly. After hearing the support of her coach and athletic director, Franklin decided she would participate for Regis on a shortened high school schedule. Her participation will be limited to two dual meets and the Colorado state meet.
Read more from this author: Missy Franklin Deserves to Win Golden Goggle 'Female Athlete of the Year' Award
Sandra Johnson was a competitive swimmer for more than 15 years before she began coaching. She is a longtime Olympic fan, and while working for the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, Colo., she had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46