VICHY, France (Reuters) - Missy Franklin is too young to drink booze so you won’t find her celebrating her first Olympic appearance with a visit to a London pub.
But the English capital’s tattoo parlors could be in for a surprise visit from the American teenager, who is looming as one of the biggest winners at the Games, after she vowed to get herself inked with the Olympic rings once her swimming commitments are finished.
“I‘m definitely going to get a tattoo,” she said at a pre-Olympic training camp in central France. “I‘m going to get it after the Games.”
It has become common practice for Olympic athletes to get tattoos although most generally wait until after all their events are over before getting their body art partly to avoid jinxing themselves in case they get injured, but also because they do not want to compete while the wounds are still healing and risk infection.
The scabs caused by the process can take weeks to heal but Franklin says she is not worried about the pain.
“I‘m actually really good with needles so I think I’ll be ok,” she said.
While the prospect of being repeatedly jabbed by the tiny pigment-filled needles may not worry Franklin, the 17-year-old, whose sweet-as-apple-pie demeanor has endeared her to millions of Americans, did make sure she had the support of her parents.
Her mother is a doctor and her father is a business executive but both gave Franklin their own stamp of approval.
“My parents are fine with it. I think they’re just as excited as I am,” she said.
“I’ve seen them on all the other athletes and it’s so cool. I’ve used it as my motivation because it’s the only tattoo I‘m going to get.”
The five rings are the most popular choice but where they end up varies wildly. Michael Phelps has two tattoos that peak out from his swimming trunks, Ryan Lochte has one on his bicep and Brendan Hanson has one on his right shoulder.
Others have them on their arms, legs, shoulders, backs and even chest but Franklin has already decided to go for something a little more discreet.
“I‘m going to get it on my right hip,” she said
Editing by Justin Palmer