Swimming sensation Franklin brings hope to Aurora

August 4th, 2012 - 5:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Michael Phelps Aurora (Colorado), Aug 4 (IANS) While the media is calling her the next Michael Phelps, American swimmer Missy Franklin’s friends back in Aurora say she’s the light shining through the darkness that has shrouded their community.

Franklin’s third Olympic gold medal came Friday, a world record in the woman’s 200-metre backstroke, and has brought Aurora a different kind of attention, reports Xinhua.

“Our community can’t be labelled by one psychotic individual,” said Christine Cutler, who calls the 17-year-old, entering senior school at Regis Jesuit high school in Aurora a “daughter” to her.

Cutler was referring to mass shooting suspect James Holmes, charged with 12 deaths and 116 counts of attempted murder in the midnight movie shootings July 20 in this suburb of Denver.

While the nation and world have been galvanized by the tragic shootings, Franklin plunged into the Olympic pool this week with grit and determination, bringing a needed relief to her community.

“Missy is nothing but goodness, juxtaposed to the evil of that man,” Cutler said. “She’s the perfect friend, the perfect daughter, the perfect person, a wonderful young woman getting what she deserves.” Cutler’s daughter Abby and Franklin have been best friends since elementary school.

Franklin led Friday’s 200-metre backstroke race from the beginning and finished a full length ahead of silver medallist Russia’s Anastasia Zueva with a world record time of 2:04.06. She had already won gold in the 100m backstroke and 4×200 freestyle relay, and a bronze in the 4×100 freestyle relay.

Franklin is the first woman to win the 100 and 200m Olympic backstroke events in 12 years. Her toothy smile and frequent podium appearances have earned her respect and admiration across the globe.

A gold in the 4×100 medley relay Saturday will give her four golds and a bronze medal in her first Olympic games.

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