August 1, 2012 / 12:27 PM / 5 years ago

Swimming: Then I saw her race...now she's a Belieber

Missy Franklin of the U.S. smiles after winning the women's 100m backstroke final at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre July 30, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

LONDON (Reuters) - Justin Bieber only had to see her race and now he’s a believer in American Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin.

The 17-year-old, in turn, only had to see his ‘shout-out’ on Twitter for the legs that powered her to backstroke gold to go all wobbly.

”heard @FranklinMissy is a fan of mine. now im a fan of hers too. CONGRATS on winning GOLD!#muchlove“,” the 18-year-old Canadian singer told his ‘Beliebers’ on the social network Twitter.

Bieber is the world’s most followed man, with more than 25 million Twitter followers.

Franklin, who won in the pool on Monday, was asked on Wednesday whether being mentioned by the teen singer was better than winning the medal.

Having said on Monday how her first Olympic title felt “one hundred billion” times better than she had expected, the teenager might have been expected to reply with ‘are you kidding?’

Instead, she played dizzily along with the idea with a peal of laughter.

“You know, it’s pretty close. I wouldn’t say its better but I could not believe it when I saw. I was running around like a chicken with the head cut off, I was so excited,” she said.

To complete her delight, American singer and Teen Idol winner Scotty McReery also sent a message.

“I like how @franklinmissy wants to stay in high school even tho shes an olympian.. they were the best 4 years of my life for sure!” he said.

Franklin has become well-known for turning down more than $100,000 in prize money and lucrative sponsorship offers so that she can follow her dream of staying amateur through college and swimming in the NCAA.

“I was super-excited. My two favorite singers tweeted me, It was incredible,” she told reporters.

Compatriot and team mate Michael Phelps, who took a record 19th Olympic medal on Tuesday night, woke up to a more serious tweet - a congratulatory one from Barack Obama.

The president of the United States, however, has ‘only’ 18 million followers.

Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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