By Chris Chase, USA TODAY
We're barely two weeks out from the Olympics and America's sweetheart is already growing up.
After months of waiting, four-time London gold medalist Missy Franklin finally got the Olympic rings tattooed on her right thigh this weekend. "All inked up," she wrote on Twitter while sharing a picture that showed her new tattoo and raw skin.
Franklin decided on getting the tattoo once she qualified for the London Olympics. It's a sort of rite of passage for U.S. swimmers. Teammates like Ryan Lochte, MichaelPhelps and Conor Dwyer have similar designs. It's the trendy, "it" tattoo of the moment. Think of it as the non-Olympians Chinese character or flowers on their lower back.
"Getting a tattoo has never been something I ever thought I would do, but this one just has so much meaning to it and it is really something that you have to earn," she told Today last week. "It's an honor to have it."
It's sort of surprising the IOC allows athletes to get Olympic rings. With the way the organization regulates all forms of potential copyright infringement, couldn't you see the IOC banning these rings and making athletes swim with black tape around them? and/or forcing them to either get it removed or compliment it by adding a huge portrait of Jacques Rogge on their backs?
If you look closely enough at her left hand, you can also make out three sets of double-digit numbers spaced with a hyphen. It looks like a locker combination. I don't know, but if I were Missy's school administrators I may have to check out her locker; you know, on account of having that tattoo and all.
While most men on the team leave the tattoo in plain sight, some of the women are more modest.
"I don't really want it to be seen unless I'm in a swimsuit, Franklin told The New York Times before the Games. "And it has to be somewhere where the skin's always going to be tight."
That's the kind of foresight you rarely get out of a 17-year-old. I suppose her parents -- who approved the tattoo -- don't have to worry about their tattooed teenager TOO much, unless she starts hanging with Ryan Lochte. He'll be the Kevin Federline to Missy's Britney.