Missy Franklin, the 17-year-old American swimmer who has already won three gold medals and one bronze, has turned down lucrative endorsements in favor of swimming in college, ABC News reported.
The high school senior from Aurora, Colorado has already turned down $100,000 in prize money and many times that in endorsements, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Franklin has made the decision so that she can compete at the collegiate level: the NCAA requires that athletes maintain amateur status in order to participate in college sports, ABC News reported.
So exactly how much money is she missing out on?
Evan Morgenstein, an agent for Olympic athletes such as swimmers Dara Torres and Janet Evans, told Forbes Franklin could be looking at making a minimum of $700,000 and as much as $2 million.
However, the 17-year-old's unconventional career choices are part of what has endeared her so much to the public, ABC News pointed out.
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Franklin has stuck with the same coach (Todd Schmitz, now a member of the US Olympic coaching staff) she has had since she was seven, and opted to stay in her Colorado hometown instead of moving to a part of the country known for producing swimming gold medalists like Florida or California.
She also dedicated her Olympic wins to the victims of the tragic shooting in Aurora that claimed 12 victims.
"Everything I've done here is for them," she said after breaking the 200-meter backstroke world record for her third gold medal, ABC reported.
As for her parents? They support their daughter either way, according to Denver Magazine 5280.
“The decision is totally with Missy," Missy's father Dick Franklin said. "but we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t at least put everything out there for her. If she has three, four, five companies that want to sign her, we could be talking about securing her financial future before she’s 20. We told her, ‘Honey, people work their entire lives and don’t make this kind of money.’"
“The money will be there in four years” Morgenstein told Forbes. “In my experience, most of the corporations will come after her about 12 to 18 months before the next Olympics. Rio is in 2016 so it would be sometime after her sophomore year (of college). I think they’d come after her with a vengeance to sign her up for Rio.”
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