Cal freshman Missy Franklin added yet another honor to her growing list when she was named the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year during a ceremony Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Franklin earned the award primarily for her record-setting performance at the 2013 World Championships when she captured six gold medals – most ever for a woman at the event. Individually, she won the 100- and 200-meter backstroke and 200-meter freestyle, while she was also a member of the victorious USA squads in the 400- and 800-meter free relay and 400-meter 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.
In addition to Franklin, the 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.
“Being here is more than an honor, and thank you Malaysia for hosting this," said Franklin, the youngest-ever winner of the women’s award and the first swimmer so recognized. "It is my first time here in Kuala Lumpur and I don’t think I’ve ever been so sincerely welcomed into a country before. I see smiles wherever I go and everyone is so generous.”
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 on her way to victory 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.
In addition, Franklin was a two-time National Swimmer of the Week and two-time Pac-12 Swimmer of the Month. Over the course of the season, she set school records in both the 200 and 500 free events.
About LaureusLaureus comprises the Laureus World Sports Academy, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the Laureus World Sports Awards, which collectively harness the power of sport to promote social change (and celebrate sporting excellence). The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation raises funds to provide financial and practical support to more than 140 projects which use the power of sport to provide coaching and education to young people in some of the most challenging or deprived environments around the world. The annual Laureus World Sports Awards showcase the work for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and celebrate the achievements of athletes from across the sporting world. For more information, visit laureus.com.