Nine rising stars
Tabbing someone "the next Michael Phelps" is a bit presumptuous. How can you predict that kind of success? And yet, consider Franklin's physical plant: At 16, she is 6-foot-1, with a 64-inch wingspan and size 13 feet, giving her a singularly efficient and powerful -- yes, Phelpsian -- stroke. She set an American record in winning the 200-meter backstroke at the 2011 world championships, where she earned five medals, including three golds. She also has the all-around talent to swim as many as eight events at the Summer Olympics, positioning herself for a Phelps-like run, assuming she qualifies at the U.S. trials. But unlike Phelps, Franklin (who turns 17 in May) has remained an amateur, continuing to swim for her Colorado high school. The decision has cost her $130,000 in prize money this year alone. When Phelps won his record eight medals in 2008, he got a $1 million bonus from Speedo. Success like that will earn Franklin ... NCAA eligibility.