USA: US Olympic backstroke champion Missy Franklin was described as "an emotional wreck" before her Regis Jesuit High School team raced rival school Highlands Ranch in a dual meet yesterday even though the crowd was just 250 deep, compared to 17,000 plus in the building and a global audience of many millions at London 2012. "All my teammates were like, 'What is wrong with you?'" Franklin tells AP. "I was so nervous and I love that. It shows me that the excitement of the sport is still there, no matter where you go. It can be here or the Olympics, but I still get so excited to get in the pool every single time. It was so awesome to come back to my first high school dual meet in what feels like forever. It was great." No one came close to Franklin as she wiped out state marks in the 200y medley and 500y freestyle and led the 4x100 and 4x200 relays for her school. There had been a suggestion that the Olympic champ would "take something away" from the others at a school meet she was clearly going to dominate. But Highlands Ranch coach Erica Peharda told AP: "Missy's such a great role model. She's very positive. The girls were excited. I don't think they felt like she's taking anything away from them. It's really cool that she's swimming for high school." On that subject, Franklin said: "That was all I wanted to do - I want to make the sport better, definitely not take away from it at all," said Franklin, who will attend California next year. "That's what made the decision so hard was the comments. I mean, that's not their fault at all, that's them being honest and giving their opinion. I totally understand that. They are concerned that I can take attention away. It's totally true. I feel so guilty whenever that happens. Hopefully, the pros outweigh the cons here, which I hope they've been doing." No hope about it in any pool graced by Franklin, a positive energy in the sport. "She's so good for our athletes, our swimmers," Regis Jesuit coach Nick Frasersmith said. "It really brings the level of swimming up in Colorado. It's what Missy is and what swimming is about, working for your teammates and enjoying it."
Australia: former distance king Grant Hackett has thrown his weight behind a possible Melbourne 2024 Olympic Games bid. The 2000 and 2004 Olympic 1500m freestyle champion answered a plea for a retweet by Melbourne's campaign today: Melbourne 2024 Bid @Melb2024 @Grant_Hackett We'd love your support for a #Melbourne #Olympics bid in 2024. Can we get a RT to #getbehindabid? #greatestshowonearth.
Anti-Doping in Sport: Lance Armstrong will give his first television interview since being banned for life and stripped of his Tour de France titles when he is interviewed at his texas home by US TV star host Oprah Winfrey. The TV show called the 90-minute chat a "no-holds-barred" interview. It will be aired at 9pm New York time on January 17 and simultaneously on Oprah.com. Winfrey is to ask the disgraced cyclist to address the US Anti-Doping Agency's report which uncovered a major doping network, one confirmed by several teammates who worked alongside Armstrong, who never tested positive for doping despite myriad tests over many years. His case, along with others such as those of US track athlete Marion Jones, point to the weakness in the argument of those who would have no questions raised in the absence of a positive test. The New York Times reported last week that the 41-year-old American was contemplating a public admission that he had used illegal performance-enhancing drugs, while one of Armstrong's attorneys has denied that his client is in discussion with anti-doping agencies.