Missy Franklin has a million reasons to smile, five of which accompanied her to The Tonight Show on Wednesday.
Pointing out her "buffet" of Olympic medals, Jay Leno asked the champion swimmer if she loved her sole bronze as much as the four gold medals she won in London this summer.
"It was my first Olympic medal. I absolutely love it," insisted the 17-year-old, who traded in her racing suit and cap for a glam black minidress and flowing hair.
"I feel like it gets lonely," she added sympathetically. "Everyone always leaves it out. Four golds, but my little bronze is always there and everyone just jumps right over it."
But don't feel too bad for the bronze—it went home with Missy in time for the start of her senior year of high school on Thursday.
The honors student, who attends school in Centennial, Colo. (she dedicated her Olympic races to the victims of the shooting in nearby Aurora), told Leno that she's taking "only one" advanced placement course this year—literature and composition—in addition to economics, philosophy, advanced dance and, the class she's most excited about, forensic science.
"Like CSI: Miami, I've got to channel my Horatio Caine," Missy quipped. (She also has to start watching a different CSI, considering that one's been canceled.)
But though her course schedule is packed, she's taking a month off from training ("It's so weird," she says) before she gets back to lifting weights and otherwise keeping her body in tip-top condition. "I'm definitely not thinking about Rio right now," she added.
The student athlete is, however, thinking about where she wants to attend college next year and she's got recruiting trips lined up for the fall.
Franklin admitted that the temptation to go pro is stronger than ever, especially now that she's been "offered a lot more" following her golden Olympics debut.
"It's a very difficult decision, but swimming in college has always been something I've wanted to do," she said. "I love being a part of a team. It's one of my favorite things about swimming. A lot of people think about it as an individual sport but there is such a big team aspect behind it that's absolutely incredible...And those are friends that you have for the rest of your life."
And we bet that every school with a swimming program is going to want Franklin making a splash in its pool.