Nearly two years ago, five-time Olympic champ and eleven-time World champ Missy Franklin of the United States announced her retirement from competitive swimming at the age of 23.
Since then, Franklin has been active on the philanthropic front, as a USA Swimming Foundation ambassador and a Laureus Academy member, among other roles. However, her time in the pool is now characterized by merely short stints here and there, which is as much as her injured body can handle in retirement.
Speaking recently to People Magazine, Franklin says, “I mean, my shoulders are in so much pain that I can maybe hop in the pool and swim easy for 20, 30 minutes, but that’s about as much as my old broken shoulders can handle at this point.”
After unequivocally declaring “absolutely not” when asked if returning to competitive swimming was in her future, Franklin said, “I kind of feel like I’ve given everything I possibly could to the sport and now it’s to do good outside of the water.
“I never got the second shoulder surgery that I needed and I just — I don’t really see getting back in the water at this point in my life being the best thing for my physical or my mental health.”
During the years of 2012 to 2013, Franklin was one of the most dominant female swimmers in history, claiming four gold medals and a bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games. She followed that up with a record six gold medals in seven events at the 2013 World Championships.
However, back spasms threw her journey off course at the 2014 Pana Pacific Championships, with her 2015 World Championships performance slipping to an individual silver and bronze, with an additional three relay medals. Franklin made the 2016 U.S. Olympic team but didn’t medal individually. She took gold with the 4×200 free relay as a prelims swimmer.