Little did he know it, but Justin Bieber nearly jeopardized the amateur career of one of the country's most talented swimmers.
After Missy Franklin's superb performance this summer in the London Olympics -- the 17-year-old took home four gold medals -- the Canadian pop sensation sent her a care package of Bieber goods shortly after the Olympics. Franklin, a huge Bieber fan, was understandably thrilled to see the package.
"Huge shout out to @justinbieber for sending me all this amazing stuff!!" Franklin tweeted at the time. "Thank you so much! Can't wait for the concert!"
As it turns out, Bieber's seemingly innocuous gift could have derailed Franklin's amateur career. She explained her conundrum in an interview in ESPN The Magazine that was published online Monday.
"It was really sweet of him," Franklin said. "But it was considered a form of special treatment that could have jeopardized my amateur status. I've given up way too much and sacrificed too much to keep a Justin Bieber T-shirt and lose it all. So I sent it back."
It's unclear when Franklin actually returned Bieber's package, but it was likely very soon after she tweeted about it. Franklin's amateur status was a hot topic of conversation following the Olympics, and it would have been unwise for her to hold onto Bieber's gifts for too long.
Indeed, months after receiving the package, Franklin committed to swim at Cal. The ESPN interview, which is published in the Dec. 10 edition of the magazine, appears to be the first place where Franklin acknowledged returning the gifts.
So in addition to her four gold medals, Franklin now owns another prestigious distinction: "only teenage girl to ever return anything given to her by Justin Bieber."
(H/T to Game On!)
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