London swimming phenom Missy Franklin took home the Sullivan Award, given to America’s top amateur athlete each year by the AAU, at a ceremony in Florida Tuesday night.
“This award means a lot to me because of how much I’ve given up to be amateur,” Missy said during her acceptance. “I absolutely love being an amateur athlete, and to be a part of something so special that honors that is amazing.”
Though listed as a Regis Jesuit High School swimmer, Franklin is a bit better known for the five Olympic medals she won last summer in London to become the most decorated American female athlete at a single Games. But the humble young champion seemed to be more excited about the people who had won the award ahead of her, including famous Swimming USA teammate Michael Phelps.
“I’m looking at awards won before me, and there’s Tracy Caulkins and Bruce Jenner and Peyton Manning,” Missy added. “It’s incredible. All these athletes have won the award. It’s such an honor. I can’t believe my picture’s going up next to theirs.”
Franklin, who beat out Oregon all-around athlete Liz Brenner and weightlifter Darren Barnes for the award, turns 18 next month will start her two-year collegiate career at Cal Berkeley this fall before shedding her amateur status ahead of the Rio Olympics in 2016.
We already knew Katie Ledecky can beat the boys in practice, even an Olympic champion.
One of the many takeaways from this week’s Sports Illustrated profile of Ledecky is that she has beaten 11-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte in practice.
Ledecky and Lochte may rep different swim clubs — Ledecky in Washington, D.C., and Lochte in Charlotte — but they both take trips to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., for altitude training.
“She swims like a guy,” Lochte said after training with Ledecky in Colorado Springs in March, according to SI. “I’ve never seen a female swimmer like that. … Her times are becoming good for a guy. She’s beating me now, and I’m like, What’s going on?”
When Ledecky broke the women’s 1500m freestyle world record for the third time at the August 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, her time of 15:28.36 was .01 faster than Lochte’s 1500m free time at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials (one of the rare instances Lochte swam a 1500m free).
Ledecky has since re-broken the women’s 1500m free world record twice more, bringing it down to 15:25.48.
“I trained with her in Colorado once, and she made me look like I was stopping,” Lochte reportedly told media on his 31st birthday, Aug. 3 at the World Championships in Kazan, Russia. “She flew by me.”
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Athens Olympic softball champion Jennie Finch will manage the Bridgeport Bluefish, an independent minor-league baseball team on Sunday and, reportedly, become the first woman to manage a men’s pro baseball team.
Finch, a pitcher, retired from softball in 2010, two years after her sport’s Olympic farewell in Beijing, where she and the U.S. took silver behind Japan.
Finch has been an advocate for softball’s return to the Olympics, which could happen in Tokyo 2020.
The International Olympic Committee is expected to decide in August if baseball and softball, among four other sports, will be added for the Tokyo Games.
Finch, who is married to former MLB pitcher Casey Daigle, is also known for having struck out Albert Pujols.
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