11 Aug 2012 03:05 PM EST
-by Molly C. Braswell, Staff Writer; Image: Missy Franklin (Image Source: Yahoo! Sports)
The gold medals Missy Franklin earned at the 2012 Olympic Games has made the college-or-pro decision that much more difficult.
Frankin, 17, has turned down many lucrative endorsement deals in order to swim for her high school team. She is still leaning toward going to college instead of turning pro so young.
“For right now, I still believe that college is what’s going to make me the happiest girl,” Franklin said at a U.S. Olympic Committee press conference. “I know what my parents and my friends and my teammates and my coaches want. But we’ll definitely have to sit down and talk about that.”
If the smiling athlete began accepting endorsement deals after graduation, she would be ineligible to swim in college, as well.
“I think that my experience here has done two very different things for my decision,” Franklin said. “I think it’s made my decision a lot more difficult because I’ve been able to see the benefits and everything and how people get these sponsorships and what it's like for them and how much fun they’re having and seeing those and kind of wanting that, wanting to be a part of it and having it be so hard to turn it down.”
Franklin still has a year or so to make up her mind. She’ll be a senior at Regis Jesuit High in Aurora, Colo., this fall. Her parents will definitely be helping her with this important decision.
“I still have to have a talk with my parents and sit down and definitely go over the options,” Franklin said. “But it’s incredible to know that I have a support system that will be honest with me and will tell me, ‘You know what, you could be doing this, you could be doing this,’ and kind of give me the advantages and consequences because there are going to be both.”
Franklin won five medals at the Olympics—gold for the 100-m backstroke, 200-m backstroke, 4x100-m medley and 4x200-m freestyle and bronze for the 4x100-m freestyle relay. Fellow swimmer Michael Phelps was the only Olympian of 10,500 to earn more medals than Franklin by earning six.
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