Cal-bound swimmer Missy Franklin, who won four gold medals at the London Olympics last summer, took home the James E. Sullivan Award as the nation’s top amateur athlete on Tuesday night.
Still a month shy of her 18th birthday, Franklin is a senior at Regis Jesuit HS in Denver.
“This award means a lot to me because of how much I’ve given up to be amateur,” Franklin said at the awards ceremony hosted by the Amateur Athletic Union in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. “I absolutely love being an amateur athlete, and to be a part of something so special that honors that is amazing.”
Franklin, the most decorated athlete at the London Games, joins past Sullivan winners including Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Frank Shorter and Shawn Johnson.
She is the 11th swimmer to win in the 83-year history of the award, the first since Phelps in 2003.
“I’m looking at awards won before me, and there’s Tracy Caulkins and Bruce Jenner and Peyton Manning. It’s incredible,” Franklin said. “All these athletes have won the award. It’s such an honor. I can’t believe my picture’s going up next to theirs.”