United States’ Missy Franklin starts in the women’s 100-meter backstroke swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Monday, July 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
LONDON, July 30 (Reuters) – Missy Franklin lived up to her billing as the next big thing in women’s swimming when she won the 100 metres backstroke gold medal at the London Olympics on Monday.
The American teenager, competing in a record seven events in her first Olympics, overhauled Australia’s Emily Seebohm in the final few strokes to get her hand on the wall first in a time of 58.33 seconds.
Incredibly, Franklin had just swum in the semi-finals of the 200 freestyle less than 20 minutes earlier and qualified eighth for the final.
Seebohm, who led at the turn under world record pace, held on to take silver while Japan’s Aya Terakawa was third.
Seebohm came agonisingly close to breaking the world record when she won her heat in 58.23 seconds, just 0.11 outside the mark set by Britain’s Gemma Spofforth at the 2009 world championships in Rome, then topped the semi-finals but was unable to repeat her performance in the final.
Franklin, the rising talent of the American women’s team, now has two medal from two events after winning a relay bronze on the opening night.