Missy Franklin
Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images

We always strive for diversity when it comes to crowning the Olympic Stud of the Day here at PopWatch Central, but for the third day in a row, a U.S. swimmer is far and away the most deserving champion. I am speaking, of course, of 17-year-old Missy Franklin, the Colorado native who swam to qualify for the women’s 200m freestyle race and then not 15 minutes later won gold in the women’s 100m backstroke in spectacular fashion.

This bears repeating: This sunny high school student — who has turned down lucrative endorsement deals so she can remain eligible to compete with her school’s swim team — swam four lengths of the pool, fast enough (though just barely) to qualify for the finals in the 200m free. She then walked over to the diving pool to warm down after receiving special dispensation from Olympic officials to do so. Ten minutes later, she walked back over to the starting blocks, jumped in the pool, and set a new American record in the 100m backstroke, with a gold-medal winning time of 58.33 seconds.

I’m worried you don’t understand what I’m saying here: She swam her heart out for 200 meters, waited as long as two-and-a-half songs on Adele’s 21 album, and then won a gold medal swimming her heart out again for 100m, in the very first individual Olympic final of her career. Did I mention Franklin is a huge Justin Bieber fan, has a smile destined to light up Wheaties boxes across the nation, and that as the first American female swimmer to compete in seven events at the Olympics, she’s just getting started? And that she was born a year after Friends premiered on NBC?!?

If all that wasn’t enough, when it came time for her medal ceremony, for anyone who had only just met Missy Franklin that night, Bob Costas informed the viewing audience that this remarkable young woman hails from Aurora, Colo., the site of the horrific movie theater shooting 10 days ago. Costas then cut to a scene of local kids watching Franklin swim her 100m backstroke final (and apparently watching it live, those lucky rascals), and losing their ever-loving minds when she won. Yeah, I’m still kinda reeling from that one.

Runner-up Studs:

Mexico’s Ivan Garcia Navarro and German Sanchez may have taken “just” silver in men’s synchronized platform diving, but they did so by attempting, and succeeding, at the most difficult dive in Olympic history: An inward four-and-a-half somersault tuck, completed in just 1.92 seconds.

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