Swimmer Missy Franklin dedicates Olympic wins to Colorado

Missy Franklin of the United States celebrates with her gold medal and an American flag during the medal ceremony for the Women's 100m Backstroke on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 30, 2012, in London, England. Getty Images

(CBS/AP) LONDON - Missy Franklin is dedicating all her Olympic races to her home state of Colorado.

The 17-year-old swimmer said Thursday she was affected by the cinema shootings in the Denver suburb of Aurora, where she attends high school and trains.

"Every single race I'm going to have that Colorado incident back on my mind," she said. "It's such a terrible thing and I'm so shaken by it. They're in my thoughts this entire process."

Franklin, who lives in Centennial, Colo., said she and her parents didn't know any of the 12 shooting victims or the 58 others who were injured.

"But Aurora and Colorado in general is such a close state that when something like that happens we're all affected by it, no matter who it is," she said, adding that she had never been to the cinema where the shootings took place. "It's hitting very close to home."

Franklin and the rest of the U.S. swimming team was training in France when she first heard about the shootings through Twitter. Because of the time difference, she had to wait several hours to find out if any of her friends had attended the midnight showing of the Batman movie.

One of them did but "thankfully he was not at that theater," she said.

As mature as the bubbly teen is, she was thrilled that her parents arrived on Thursday in London to watch their only child compete.

"I'm so happy to know that they're here, but apparently my dad is calling everyone 'mate,'" she said with a smile. "I'm like, 'Wrong country, Dad,' but as long as he doesn't tell anyone he's related to me, it's fine."

Franklin's enthusiasm extends to her digs at the athletes village.

"The apartments are so nice. We have these little, like, London bedspreads that we're able to take home. They're so cute," she said.

"We have little living rooms - they have blue couches and pink pillows. Everything is so colorful. They planted, like, 18,000 trees in the village, so to have that, it's so beautiful and just the village itself is gorgeous."

Her first trip to England, which has included seeing the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, has exceeded Franklin's expectations.

"It's so beautiful and so grand," she said.

Her compliments extend to the Olympic pool and its sloping roof, which resembles the belly of a gray whale.

"It hasn't really intimidated me," she said. "I feel really relaxed and really comfortable in that pool."

Thanks to this Colorado teenager, America's swim hopes are back on track at the Olympics.

Michael Phelps has yet to win a gold medal, and Ryan Lochte's star has dimmed just a bit. So it was Franklin providing a much-needed boost to swimming's powerhouse nation, coming back less than 14 minutes after swimming a semifinal heat to win the first gold medal of what figures to be a dazzling career.

"Indescribable," the 17-year-old Franklin said after rallying to win the 100-meter backstroke Monday. "I still can't believe that happened. I don't even know what to think. I saw my parents' reaction on the screen and I just started bawling. I can't even think right now."

After finishing up the semis of the 200 freestyle, she hopped out of the pool and headed to the diving well for a quick warmdown. She didn't even have time to make it to the practice pool, not when her bigger event was coming right up.

Even Phelps was amazed at Franklin's stamina, saying he had never done back-to-back races that close together at such a major meet. His quickest turnaround was about a half-hour.

"She's a racer and she knows what to do," Phelps said.

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