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Franklin's star power hasn't diminished

Jan. 27, 2013 at 5:07 PM

CENTENNIAL, Colo., Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Defying a national attention span that has many London Olympians fading back into obscurity, swimming star Missy Franklin's fans say she's as popular as ever.

The 17-year-old who came away with four gold medals, a bronze and the world record in the 200 meter backstroke, has become something of a teen sensation, rivaling that of her favorite pop star, Justin Bieber, The Denver Post said Sunday..

At a recent Bieber concert in Denver, Franklin was escorted backstage and the throngs of Bieber fans turned their screeches to her.

Fans still fill bins of fan mail sent to her high school, USA Swimming and her home. She spends weekend afternoons answering the letters and signing pictures, which her parents spend $1 each to mail back to Franklin's admirers.

Veteran Olympians cautioned Franklin and her family to brace for a fall-off -- no more late night chats with Jay Leno, no more commercial endorsements, red carpet strolls or media requests. That hasn't been the case, Franklin's mother D.A. said.

"Everybody said, 'Be prepared until October. After October, everything dies,' " D.A. Franklin said. "Well, it hasn't."

She was a guest at the Golden Globes, where she met actors the likes of George Clooney, Ben Afleck and Leonardo DiCaprio.

"The people I've been able to meet are so cool," she said. "Incredible other athletes. I've met my favorite singers, my favorite actors and actresses. I've been able to go to all these incredible events in Hollywood and New York."

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