Missy Franklin comes home to a lot of Colorado ‘love’

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. – Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin got an Olympic-sized welcome after she arrived home in Colorado from Rio de Janeiro Wednesday afternoon.

Neighbors placed close to 200 paper hearts in her lawn as a surprise. Each heart had a custom message for Missy to welcome her home and congratulate her.

“Well it’s sure better than toilet paper!” her dad Dick Franklin told FOX31.

Missy tweeted that she was “blown away” by the support from her community. Dick Franklin said she plans to read each one.

Franklin brought home a gold medal from the 2016 games in Rio for swimming in the heats with the women’s 4×200 meter freestyle relay team. She did not swim in the final gold medal winning race. She also failed to qualify for the finals in her two individual events.

She tweeted that she was heartbroken with her results, but her fans are not.

“Just getting to the Olympics is a huge accomplishment already and she’s so young,” said 12-year-old neighbor Angela Weigl.

Weigl is on the swim team at the same pool where Franklin started at just 5 years old.

“Just knowing that she came from the same neighborhood that I’m in, that she started the same way I did is really inspiring,” Weigl said.

“The fascinating thing about this is the lessons that Missy seems to be portraying for younger children,” Dick Franklin said.

“You showed grace in winning, grace in competing, but taught all of us grace in defeat,” one of the heart messages read.

“This is the kind of lesson that we want our kids to understand. You don’t win every day,” Dick Franklin said. “You take responsibility, you suck it up and you go back at it another day. Just like Missy is going to.”

He told FOX31 Franklin has not thought about the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo yet. First, she has her sights set on the World Championships in Budapest next summer.