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Continued: Column: Tired of all that bad news in sports? Check out Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky

  • Article by: PAUL NEWBERRY , AP National Writer
  • Last update: August 3, 2013 - 12:00 PM

Her races in Barcelona have been even better. Ledecky broke the world record in the 1,500 freestyle by a whopping 6 seconds, landing a spot on ESPN's "Plays of the Day" with a little help from USA Swimming and their followers on Twitter. She nearly broke another record while winning the 400 free and, along with Franklin, helped the U.S. capture gold in the 800 free relay. Ledecky has one event left in Barcelona, the 800 free, and she's a big favorite to take home another gold — and maybe another record.

But Ledecky seems to be taking it all in stride, like all these medals and records are no big deal.

Her coach, Bruce Gemmell, points to what happened after the Olympics.

"She went home, slept in her same room, mom was still making meals ... mom and dad were still driving her to practice and driving her to school," Gemmell said. "I think the biggest change in her life in the past year was her brother went off to college. The rest of it was pretty much what she had been doing. There's a lot of benefit to that."

Franklin followed basically the same path after the Olympics. She went back to Colorado for her senior year of high school and lived, for the most part, like a normal kid rather than a four-time Olympic gold medalist. Sure, she walked some red carpets and got to meet Justin Bieber. But she also went on retreats with his classmates, attended the prom, joined clubs, passed out cookies and hot chocolate during finals week, and competed on her school's swim team.

"It was a perfect, incredible senior year for me," she said.

If Franklin had turned pro after the London Olympics, she'd probably be a millionaire by now. But she and her parents felt there were more important things to life than just getting rich, and that plan sure seems to be working for them. Ditto for Ledecky, who plans on putting off adulthood as long as she can. For now, it's all about getting that driver's license.

Franklin put it best during an interview I did with her back in May, just days before she graduated.

"I think such a vital part growing up, such a huge thing for me, is staying normal," she said. "I didn't want to look back 10 years from now and wish I done my senior year of high school, wish I had gone to the prom, wish I had had experienced those things. Those experiences make us who we are."

See, the news isn't all bad.

You've just got to know where to look.

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