Missy Franklin to be Fiesta Bowl grand marshal

Five-time Olympic medalist to lead Fiesta Bowl Parade, serve as special guest at game.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- U.S. Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin will serve as the grand marshal of the Fiesta Bowl Parade on Dec. 29, 2012, in Phoenix.


As grand marshal, Franklin will lead the Fiesta Bowl Parade and will serve as special guest at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3, 2013, where she will participate in the pregame festivities and the coin toss.

The 17-year-old Franklin burst onto the world scene at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, winning five swimming medals, including four golds. She also set the world record in the 200-meter backstroke on her way to the gold medal in that event.

"We are thrilled to have Missy Franklin serve as this year's Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade grand marshal," said Fiesta Bowl Chairman of the Board Steve Whiteman. "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."

Said Franklin: "I have always loved college football, and I am looking forward to participating in this great community event along with my family. It is an honor to join a list of U.S. Olympians who have been a part of the Fiesta Bowl Parade."

Franklin is the latest in a long line of Olympians who have served as grand marshal of the Fiesta Bowl Parade. The list 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, nicknamed "Missy the Missile" by her father, resides in Aurora, Colo., with her parents. She is a senior in high school.

The Fiesta Bowl Parade, in its 42nd year, annually celebrates the unique cultural heritage and desert landscapes of Arizona. The parade is free to the public.