Cal freshman swimmer Missy Franklin added another honor to her resume when she was named the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year during a ceremony Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Franklin earned the award after her record-setting performance at the 2013 World Championships, where she won six gold medals – most ever for a woman at the event.
“Oh my gosh,” exclaimed Franklin, the youngest-ever winner of the women’s award and the first swimmer so honored. “I don’t know what I’m doing here.”
At the World Championships, Franklin won the 100- and 200-meter backstroke and 200 freestyle, and contributed to victorious USA squads in the 400- and 800 free relay and 400 medley relay. Earlier in the summer, she finished in first place in four individual events at U.S. Nationals – 100 and 200 back and 100 and 200 free.
Others nominated for the Laureus honor were: Nadine Angerer (Germany, soccer), Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica, track & field), Yelena Isinbayeva (Russia, track & field), Tina Maze (Slovenia, skiing) and Serena Williams (USA, tennis).
Swimming legend Mark Spitz presented Franklin with the award at the ceremony.
“On a personal note, I’m pleased to be able to present you this award for your outstanding achievements and what you accomplished last year, and, more importantly, it’s incredible that she’s only 18 years old, and what marvelous opportunities in life are before her in the future,” Spitz said.
The prestigious award adds to Franklin’s ever-increasing number of accolades over the past six months. In October, Franklin was named the Sportswoman of the Year for an individual sport by the Women’s Sports Foundation. ESPNW also placed her No. 3 on its list of the most impactful female athletes of 2013, and Time Magazine chose her as one of the top 16 most influential teens of 2013.
During her just-completed collegiate season with the Golden Bears, Franklin was named the Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet after setting conference championship records in the 100-yard free, 200-yard free and 500-yard free, as well as being part of three winning relays. At the NCAA Championships last week, Franklin’s highlights included an American record andvictory in the 200-yard free and bringing Cal back from a 2.5-second deficit on the anchor leg to claim the 800 free relay title.