DENVER – Colorado’s own five-time Olympic champion Missy Franklin announced Wednesday she was retiring from international swimming due to shoulder issues in a post on ESPN.
“This was perhaps the hardest letter I’ve ever had to write,” Franklin said in a tweet announcing her retirement. “There are so many words to say and I thank you all for letting me share them with you, and for your continued support. Today, I announce my retirement from competitive swimming.”
Franklin, 23, who grew up in Centennial and attended Regis Jesuit High School, announced in September she was engaged to fellow swimmer Hayes Johnson, and in October was announced as one of the 2019 inductees into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
Franklin won five gold medals and one bronze in the past two Olympics and is a two-time FINA World Swimmer of the Year.
In her letter, Franklin details the highs and lows of her career, including her struggles with depression and anxiety both before and after the 2016 Olympic Games. She also details the slow recovery that came after she had surgery on both of her shoulders in early 2017.
She talks about how she and her fiancé discussed wanting to start a family and how she wanted to be a happy and healthy mother to their future children.
“I began to realize that my greatest dream in life, more so than Olympic gold, has always been becoming a mom,” Franklin wrote. “Swimming had been such a huge part of my life for as long as I could remember, but it was not my entire life. I still have dreams, goals, aspirations and intentions I plan on living out every day of my life.”
Franklin thanked her sponsors, coaches and family for their “unwavering support” through her career and said she was looking at her retirement as “a new beginning.”
“It took me a long time to say the words, ‘I am retiring.’ A long, long time. But now I’m ready,” Franklin wrote. “I’m ready to not be in pain every day. I’m ready to become a wife and, one day, a mother. I’m ready to continue growing each and every day to be the best person and role model I can be. I’m ready for the rest of my life.”