LONDON – Paraguayan javelin thrower Leryn Franco has admitted she has far more chance of retaining her title as “hottest female Olympian” than she does of leaving London with a medal.
Franco was Yahoo's second-most searched Olympian, trailing only Michael Phelps, at the 2008 Beijing Games and was voted the most attractive competitor by several men's magazines. She managed just a 51st place finish in Beijing. Despite improving her performances over the last four years, she's still not expected to finish in the top 20.
[ Photos: Javelin thrower Leryn Franco ]
"My situation is different from most of the other javelin throwers," Franco said. "I am not just an athlete. I have to be honest, my career is really in the media.
"If people open a magazine, they can see me there. Modeling and fashion is my job, too. It takes up much of my time and enables me to make money. It is flattering to me that people find me good-looking and enjoy seeing me wearing good fashion items."
Franco participated in Friday's Opening Ceremony and will not compete until Aug. 7, the fifth day of track and field events. She threw a personal best of 55.65 meters at an event in Buenos Aires last year, but that mark is nearly 17 meters shy of the world record.
Franco gained some extra attention in the United States last year when she was featured in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition and has a lucrative endorsement contract with Nike. In 2006, she finished second in a national beauty contest, Miss Universo Paraguay. She briefly dated world No.2 tennis player Novak Djokovic, but the pair split when their respective work and travel schedules made a relationship impossible.
[ Photos: Most-searched Olympians of 2012]
"I am not expecting a medal," Franco said. "The competition is very strong and there are athletes who are stronger than me. But I treat it seriously and I want to do my personal best. For me the best reward is just to be here. Getting to the Olympics is like a medal for me."
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