Should Missy Franklin swim for her high school?

1 Comment

Is it fair to hop back in a high school pool after winning five Olympic medals? Probably not.

Still, that’s the question facing 17-year-old Missy Franklin. She recently signed up to swim at Cal next year with Olympic coach Teri McKeever, but Missy said the decision about whether or not to continue her high school career is more stressful.

“If I had anyone who swims high school come up to me and tell me they don’t want me to swim, I would absolutely not swim,” Franklin told the AP. “But everyone who I’ve talked to has been so supportive of it. It’s so hard when I have so many people that are really wanting me to do it and so supportive, and I have other people who are saying it’s not fair. ‘Why would you do this to other girls?’”

Missy, who took home female athlete of the year and shared relay of the year honors with London teammates Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer, and Allison Schmitt at Monday night’s Golden Goggles in New York, told the USA Today that she has “no gut feeling on this” and has turned to her parents for help.

The swimming phenom said she’ll decide as soon as possible, but it’s really no decision at all: she should swim. Yes, she’ll likely clobber anyone she gets in the pool with, but she’s a high schooler, arguably a kid, and she shouldn’t have the joy of competing with her friends taken away because she excels at what she does. She shouldn’t be made to feel bad for her talents or the awards she’s worked so hard to achieve.

And who knows, going against one of the world’s top swimmers might help them get better, too.

What do you think?

More Olympic distance-running medalists banned for doping

Gamze Bulut
Getty Images
Leave a comment

MONACO (AP) — Turkish runner Elvan Abeylegesse has been banned for doping and stands to lose two Olympic silver medals.

The IAAF says Abeylegesse tested positive for the banned steroid stanozolol in a retest of a sample she gave at the 2007 World Championships.

She has been banned for two years and had her results wiped out from 2007-09.

Abeylegesse won Olympic silver medals in the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2008 Beijing Games and silver in the 10,000m at the 2007 world championships.

The IAAF also said it had imposed a four-year ban on another Turkish runner, Gamze Bulut, for a violation of its biological passport program. Bulut won 1500m silver at the 2012 London Olympics.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Top American out of Boston Marathon

Maria Sharapova not fully committed to 2020 Olympic run

AP
1 Comment

The rumors and reports have been out for months, but asked directly, Maria Sharapova wasn’t immediately quite sure how to answer when asked about going for the 2020 Olympics.

“Ooh, I don’t, umm,” Sharapova said, laughing lightly, sitting across from retired U.S. Olympic soccer champion Julia Foudy at a conference in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on Tuesday (video here). “It’s a question I’ve been asked, and I’d love to sit here today and say yes, in three-so years that is where I want to be. But it’s hard. It’s hard to look that far, also being a woman that’s also [turning] 30 years [old in three weeks]. I want to have a family. I want to be a mother. Those are definitely long-term goals of mine. But of course to compete in another Olympics, that’s an athlete’s dream. I’d love to be a part of that.”

Sharapova is set to return from her 15-month meldonium ban next month. What stings the most about her suspension?

“Something was taken away from you that you’ve done so passionately since you were a little girl,” she said. “Although I’m at a stage and an age in my career and in my life where you’re closer to the end than you are to the beginning, you always want to end your career or a chapter in your life on your terms and in your voice. And to be in a moment where you feel or you felt like it could have ended on someone else’s voice and someone else’s terms was very difficult to accept. That’s why I fought so hard for the truth to be out. You don’t realize how much you love something and how much something it means to you until you lose it for some time. It gave me a chance also to live.”

Sharapova joked about going to Coachella last year.

“There’s 120,000 people doing drugs that I’m not aware of?” she said, laughing. “And completely being out of my element. I was like, OK? … I’m skipping Coachella this year, because I got my day-job back.”

The fans’ reaction when she gets back on the competition courts?

“I don’t know if there’s much that I can control,” she said.

Earlier this month, her agent reportedly said he thought that Sharapova will play through the 2020 Tokyo Games if healthy.

Sharapova will be 33 years old come the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, two years older than any previous Russian Olympic tennis player. She will likely have to be ranked among the top four Russians in the world in spring 2020 to qualify for the Games outright.

Sharapova’s passion for the Olympics is well documented.

She carried the Russian flag into the London 2012 Opening Ceremony and carried the Olympic flame into Fisht Stadium at the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony, where she worked for NBC Olympics.

“It was the one thing that my parents allowed me to watch on TV late into the evening was the Olympics,” Sharapova said Tuesday. “I grew up watching figure skating and hockey and a little bit of tennis. … Just capturing the Opening Ceremonies and seeing all the countries and the little hats that they wore, and I, as a little girl, I just imagined that maybe it would be me. But I never, ever thought that I would be carrying the flag.

“I received that [flag] honor in a text message, which is a very Russian way of communicating. I originally thought it was a joke, a big fat joke. Then I showed it to my mother, and she [said], no, they probably wouldn’t joke like that.”

In February 2016, Sharapova entered a Fed Cup tie, despite saying she was injured, in order to receive Olympic eligibility.

One month later, her failed drug test was announced.

Two women’s players, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams, have achieved the singles career Golden Slam — winning all four majors and the Olympics. Sharapova, beaten by Williams 6-0, 6-1 in the London 2012 final, is a Tokyo title away from joining them.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Venus Williams targets 2020 Olympics at age 40