A friend asked swimmer Katie Hoff recently about the possibility of seeing her medals from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and Hoff shocked everybody -- OK, mostly herself -- by saying yes.
There are three in all, a silver medal and two bronzes.
She looked tentatively at each medal, unsure of what emotion they might conjure.
"And for the first time, I was proud to show them," Hoff said when we talked at a meet in Indianapolis. "It took me almost four years. I used to be, 'Oh sorry, I didn't win gold.' "
It is weird to think it has been four years, how much has changed and how little has. The swimming world was all about a teenage girl then just as it is now -- how great she was, how many medals she would win, how fun swimming was when seen through her eyes.
2008: Hoff, 19.
2012: Missy Franklin, 17.
Franklin is just the latest next big thing, fresh and crazy talented, featured in Vogue and predicted to take London by storm. The same media who dubbed Hoff "Female Phelps" now have...