Fiesta Bowl Grand Marshal
Missy the Missile is coming to the Valley.
Six months after making a big splash in the London Games, U.S. Olympic gold medalist swimmer Missy Franklin will serve as the Grand Marshal of the 42nd Annual Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation on December 29 in central Phoenix.
“I have always loved college football, and I am looking forward to participating in this great community event, along with my family,” Franklin said.
As Grand Marshal, Franklin will lead this year’s Parade and will participate in the pregame festivities and the coin toss at the 42nd Annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 3 in Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium.
“We are thrilled to have Missy Franklin serve as this year’s Grand Marshal,” Fiesta Bowl board chairman Steve Whiteman said. “Missy’s dedication to her sport and her performance in the classroom make her an inspiration to all young student-athletes around the world.
“She is an ideal person to lead our Parade,” Whiteman said.
The Fiesta Bowl Parade is a beloved Valley tradition, annually celebrating the unique cultural heritage and beautiful desert landscapes of Arizona. And the Fiesta Bowl organization can bestow no greater honor than Grand Marshal.
The 17-year-old Franklin is the latest in a long line of Olympians who have served as Grand Marshal of the Fiesta Bowl Parade. “It is an honor to join a list of U.S. Olympians who have been a part of the Fiesta Bowl Parade,” Franklin said.
Don’t remember all of them? Here’s a list of the Olympians and their parade year:
Jennie Finch (2004)
Gary Hall Jr. and Misty Hyman (2000)
Kerri Strug (1996)
Charles Barkley (1994)
Kristi Yamaguchi (1992)
Janet Evans (1988)
Frank Shorter (1976)
Franklin’s appearances in the Valley will be an extension of what the Denver Post dubbed the “Missy Franklin gold medal tour.”
Franklin has been on the go since bursting onto the world athletic scene at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, where she won five medals, including four gold medals. Franklin also set the world record in the 200 meter backstroke en route to the gold medal in that event.
Franklin lives with her family in Aurora, Colorado, where she is a senior at Regis Jesuit High School. But it seems as if she’s been everywhere but home since returning from England.
Franklin has appeared on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and the "Today Show," walked the red carpet at the "2012 MTV Video Music Awards," played a tennis match with doubles partner Novak Djokovic, answered phones as part of the “Stand Up to Cancer” telethon in Los Angeles, served as an honorary captain before the Denver Broncos’ season opener, visited college campuses on a national recruiting tour and posed for thousands of photos with fans.
"It's everywhere," Franklin’s mother, D.A., told the Denver Post’s John Henderson. "When we were at worlds [in summer 2011], everyone said to Missy, 'Things are going to be totally different.' When we came back they were, media-wise. After the Olympics, everyone said, 'Things are going to be different.' I thought, they can't be. We've been through this.
"What's different is the recognition," she said.
But while Franklin may be an international sports personality, she’s also still a high school student.
“I have more homework than I know what to do with,” Franklin told USA Today’s Kelly Whiteside.
The holidays will bring a welcome break from school, if not from training. And what better way to relax than with a ride in a convertible down sun-dappled Central Avenue in Phoenix?