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OLYMPICS

Harnessing energy the key for Franklin

It's impossible not to notice just how much energy is contained in Missy Franklin's 6-foot-1 frame.

From the constant movement of her hands, to the swinging of her chair as her teammates field questions, to the way she can expel five or six sentences in a single breath, Franklin is charged like a lightning bolt.

Vitality is one reason she could make numerous trips to the medal podium. But an inability to control her fuel could also lead to a blackout.

"It's definitely hard to control that energy, but I know that I need to do that and keep that energy conserved for when it really matters, which is right before I race," Franklin admitted Thursday, still two days before her first event.

The obvious hasn't gone unnoticed by Michael Phelps, who was left in awe at how much energy some of the female swimmers had at a recent media event in France.

Hey, there's a reason they call her Missy the Missile.

"If Missy can control her emotional energy I think she's going to be fine, but I think that's going to be a very tough part," Phelps said. "This is a very long meet with eight days and having semifinals and finals, it does add up."

Make no mistake, Franklin will need all the vigor she can muster. The Olympic rookie is slated to become the first female in U.S. history to swim in seven Olympic events.

Even after winning five medals, including three gold, at the 2011 FINA World Championships, that figures to be a big task for any swimmer not named Phelps. But Franklin is not your typical 17-year-old, and she has a world-class support system as well.

Many of her teammates, including Natalie Coughlin and Rebecca Soni, have Olympic experience and Franklin said that women's head coach Teri McKeever has done an unbelievable job of getting the veterans together with the rookies to pass on knowledge.

That could go a long way in keeping Franklin calm.

"Coming in here for the first time I felt so prepared with everything that I had learned from Natalie and Reb (Soni) and all the other girls on the team," said Franklin. "Just having that kind of support I can lean back on means the world to me and it makes me so much more comfortable while I'm here."

Surprisingly, one tool Franklin hasn't tapped yet is the vast experience of Phelps, who said he has told her throughout the year that she can contact him with any questions.

"And she hasn't," Phelps said with a laugh.

Is cockiness the reason Franklin doesn't need advice from the eight-time gold medal winner in Beijing? Franklin says no.

"Michael is the best. I think, honestly, I've gotten so much help from the women's team and we've had so much in the team meetings that I've gotten so many of my questions answered already."

Phelps better keep his phone handy, though, because Franklin is sure to come calling at some point.

"I know one of the big things I'll talk to him about is college and that's really not on my mind at all right now. I'm definitely holding that back until after this is over, but I will definitely use him as a resource. It was so sweet of him to offer," she said.

As if becoming the face of women's swimming wasn't enough, Franklin trains in Aurora, Colo., the location of the July 20 movie theater shooting that left 12 dead and 58 people wounded.

"Unfortunately there is nothing I can do about it. I wish there was, but right now all I have to do is do what I can here and send my heart out, hopefully make my state proud and give a little bit of fun for this really tough summer that Colorado has had," she said.

A few gold medals would certainly lift spirits in Aurora. And we all know Franklin will have plenty of energy to celebrate.