Can you Tebow underwater?
If anyone has considered that question, it's Missy Franklin, the 16-year old swimming phenom for the U.S. National Team.
The Colorado high schooler is a huge Tim Tebow fan, as evidenced by her Twitter timeline. She's followed the Broncos through their unexpected playoff run and was even honored by the team at the last home game of the regular season. Franklin posted a picture from Sports Authority Field at Mile High during that New Year's Day game and last week she tweeted, "It's
Tebow time:) let's go Broncos!!" as the former Heisman winner knocked the Steelers out of the playoffs.
She's also Tebow-like in another way. Franklin has turned down more than $130,000 in potential prize money and countless more in endorsement offers during her freestyle to fame. Missy the Missile, as she's known for her 6-1 frame, is just a junior and wants to swim for a collegiate team. She's already taken unofficial visits to Georgia and Cal.
Her reward? Friends have started calling her "the anti-Kardashian."
Franklin, reached Thursday in Austin, Tex., where she's getting ready for a Grand Prix event, says "there are definitely moments" when she's tempted to take the money.
"I know my dad could be chillin' in a Porsche in Hawaii," she told the Wall Street Journal.
But accepting any money would make her a professional under NCAA rules. So Franklin has turned it all down, from $73,000 last fall for her performance at the FINA World Cup to the $500 gift card to Sports Authority from the Broncos.
How many people not named Tebow would do that?
Like the Broncos' savior, Franklin has inspired her teammates on the U.S. National Team as well, despite her youth. She's already a favorite for several events at the 2012 Olympics in London this summer, and none other than Michael Phelps called Missy a "stud" and said she could swim with anybody.
If she does make it to London, she says she will consider Tebowing on the pool deck. She has met the Broncos quarterback once, at a Colorado training facility.
As for Tebowing underwater?
"That's a great idea!" she says. "I've Tebowed in every other place possible."
The only real difference between Franklin and Tebow is their relationship to H2O. Everyone jokes that Tebow walks on water, but The Missile flat out destroys it.
Eric Adelson contributed reporting for this story.
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