A new smile to follow

July 31, 2012 7:06 a.m. - Updated: 7:25 a.m.

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The best part of the Olympics? Spending four weeks or so learning about athletes in sports you might not pay all that much attention to during the other 47 months between the Games. Which leads to this question: What's not to like about Missy Franklin? Read on.


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• Franklin is the swimmer from the Denver area who won the women's 100-meter backstroke yesterday less than 15 minutes after qualifying for the 200-meter free final. That feat alone is enough to put her smile on everyone's radar. But her backstory, while not exceptional (no sad tale of a friend with a debilitating disease or an uplifting account of how she works at the local animal shelter saving guinea pigs) is unusual. See, Franklin is a high school student at Regis Jesuit in Aurora, Colo. (does that city name seem familiar?), not an area that has produced a lot of swimming world champions. So the outstanding talent should transfer to a school in California or Florida so she can maximize her gift, right? No. She's a high school student who enjoys her friends, enjoys competing for her high school and that's where she will stay. OK, but she better dump her coach, right? After all, Todd Schmitz never trained an Olympian before. Well, no. Franklin is happy with him as well. It's a trait called loyalty, in case you haven't heard of it. And it must have really hurt her development, as she just won an Olympic gold medal. And by the way, after bursting on the swimming scene recently, she was offered lots of money to endorse this swimsuit and that cap, but she turned them all down. Taking the money would have meant not being able to help Regis Jesuit win a state swimming title, and that was more important. Go Raiders.

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• Washington State: Want to know more about Mike Leach? Well, read this. There probably isn't anything new in Dennis Dobb's story, but you never know. Leach has a way of surprising you. … Bud Withers tells us Connor Halliday is ready to get back under center about nine months since he was injured by a late hit. … Ted Miller has more Pac-12 media day video at ESPN.com, this one on Travis Long. … Marquess Wilson was tabbed by CBSSports.com as a first-team All-American. … Oregon and Oregon State's return games are examined by the Oregonian. … Remember the Joey Harrington Heisman campaign? I'm sure Bill Moos does (he was Oregon's AD at the time) and now you can too through this story. … Utah suspends a safety for three games for a violation of team rules. Meanwhile, Cal just reinstated a suspended linebacker. … Arizona State has strengths, sure, but it also has concerns. … Arizona is about to open training camp.

• Preps: The last remaining local teams in the state American Legion baseball tournaments were eliminated yesterday. … A local soccer team won a big tournament. Jess Brown has the information in our weekly youth notebook.

• Mariners: Yes, Hisashi Iwakuma struck out 13 Toronto Blue Jays – a franchise rookie record – in a 4-1 win over the visitors from Canada last night, but the bigger news were the moves the M's made after the game. Brandon League (right) was traded to the Dodgers for two prospects with decent stats and Steve Delabar was moved down the hall for an outfielder who will join the Mariners today. Also, Carlos Peguero and his whiffs were optioned to Tacoma. All-in-all, a busy day for the M's. … By the way, Ichiro hasn't turned his season around just yet. … Casper Wells' season turned around last year at this time.

• Seahawks: OK, so the quarterback battle is all the rage at Hawks' camp but there are other stories too. Even columns.

• NBA: The King County Council took the first step in agreeing to an arena deal with Chris Hansen. It seems that more and more folks are seeing the plan as a fair deal to all.

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• Headed back to the Pacific Northwest today, which brings a smile to my face. Not a Missy Franklin-bright smile, but one nonetheless. We'll be back tomorrow. Until then …


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