Laueus Awards: Play Missy for me, please

Laueus Awards: Play Missy for me, please
WINNING SMILE: Missy Franklin is crowned the youngest ever World Sportswoman of the Year, thanks to the 18-year-old's record six gold-medal haul at the 2013 world championships.

KUALA LUMPUR - She revealed how she bumped into Mark Spitz in the lift and confessed she was wide-eyed with excitement as a full-blown "Fan Girl".

Then she flashed dazzling white teeth and laughed so loud it filled up an entire hall.

Missy Franklin is a tall bag of loud laughs and loud giggles.

She is a star, and it's not because she is the best backstroke sprinter in the world.

Not because she already owns four Olympic gold medals and is the first woman to win six events at a single world swimming championships.

Franklin is dazzling because she is fresh, engaging and sweet as pie.

Never flustered, she was game to chat away with the media that gathered around her in a swarm, hours before she became the youngest Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year last night at the Istana Budaya here in Kuala Lumpur.

Perhaps once her love affair with chlorinated water is over, she will go on to become a successful politician, but then again, I know she means what she says.

"I love what I do. One of my goals was to swim. But one of my goals is to also be a mum," she said.

"One of my biggest goals is to be a mum and have a family. Swimming doesn't define me. That's what sports has taught me actually."

The easy eloquence was remarkable for an 18-year-old college kid who also pokes fun at Spitz's missing moustache.

It is not often one gets to meet and talk to Edwin Moses, Michael Johnson and Franklin within the space of an hour.

If Moses and Johnson are already on track and field's Mt Rushmore, then I promise Franklin will soon take her place alongside Phelps and Spitz in swimming's rock-face.

Johnson, the only man to win the men's 200m and 400m at a single Olympic Games (Atlanta 1996), was a picture of cool and calm on Wednesday.

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