Imagine LeBron James driving the lane against 17-year-olds. Ray Lewis busting through the line on a Friday night football game. Usain Bolt stepping into the blocks at an after-school track meet. Justin Verlander firing fastballs at kids who are preparing for proms. Terrifying, right? Now you've got an idea of what opponents of four-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Missy Franklin will be facing this winter.
Franklin will be rejoining her Regis Jesuit High School team this season for an abbreviated schedule. Yes, an Olympian going back to swim at high school. Going to be interesting, yes?
However, Regis Jesuit athletic director John Koslosky told the Denver Post that this won't be a situation where Olympics fans can just show up at a meet and see Franklin. "Last year, there were all sorts of cameras everywhere," he said. "Missy was concerned about it, and I think that's what made her struggle in making this decision. But she said she wanted to pass on turning pro and attend college, and she signed to do that, and she said she wants to swim with her teammates and her school."
The school is also going to be working with the Colorado High School Activities Association to be sure that Franklin's meets don't turn into absolute circuses.
Franklin, who won four golds and a bronze this summer, announced in October that she will be swimming for California next season under Teri McKeever, who was also the head coach of the U.S. Olympic women's team. That decision cost her millions in immediate endorsement money, as she had to preserve her amateur status in the wake of the London Games in order to swim for California. Franklin's current plans are to swim for Cal for two years before turning pro.
Now, it's important to note that what Franklin is doing is not only perfectly within the rules of her sport, it's rather morally impressive as well, turning down money and fame in return for education and bonding with her friends and teammates. And her opponents will surely relish the chance to swim against an Olympic legend. Beat her? Well, that'd be a whole different story.
-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-