Missy Franklin: The Cincinnatus of the Olympics (a guest post from Greg Marcus)

My favorite character from Latin class was Cincinnatus – he was a farmer who became Dictator to lead the Roman army against invaders, and then returned to his farming life after the war. The fame and glory did not prevent him from continuing to be who he wanted to be, and he willingly gave up almost absolute power to return to a simple life. Cincinnatus was revered as an exemplar of civic virtue, someone willing to work for the greater good without accumulating personal wealth and power.

“I am pleased to present a guest post from Greg Marcus.

After ten years as a scientist, and ten years as a marketer, Greg Marcus, Ph.D. is a stay-at-home dad and author. If you are interested in more of his writing you can find it by clicking here, or you can find him on linked in.  Greg reminds us of the constant choices we make as we pursue our dreams, and balance them with the rest of our lives”

Missy Franklin is not a general, but a swimmer on the US Olympic team. Unlike many Olympians, she elected not to leave home and move to a training center to work with a high-powered coach. She stayed with her childhood coach, and in fact turned down endorsement deals to maintain eligibility for her high school swim team.

I think its safe to say along the way, some thought her crazy for not making the most of her talent by moving to California, swimming full-time, and getting the best coach available. But Franklin showed that a move to the next level of achievement does not require sacrificing who we are, or the people in our life. And I strongly suspect that without her family, Franklin could not have achieved what she achieved.

Franklin won four gold medals and one bronze, in London, second only to Michael Phelps in total medals. Now, Franklin is faced with a choice – does she go back to the life she had, swimming for her high school team and then on to college, or does she take advantage of the millions of dollars in endorsement deals that she could get as an Olympic Champion? For now, she is leaning towards college because she says that is what will make her a happy girl, but she will consider all the options. It’s a real dilemma.

One of these choices represents a once in a lifetime opportunity.