Laureus Academy ambassador Missy Franklin and husband Hayes Johnson at the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards on Feb. 18, 2019 in Monaco.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Retirement has treated Missy Franklin well.
It was only three weeks ago that the five-time Olympic swimming gold medalist tied the knot to now-husband Hayes Johnson, and it has been 10 months since she announced her retirement from competitive swimming.
“I think I didn’t really know what I anticipated going into retirement, but it has been almost just as crazy as when I was competing,” Franklin told TeamUSA.org during a recent visit to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center.
Franklin competed for Team USA from 2010 through 2016, having won 17 world championships medals and six Olympic medals.
She made a name for herself at the Olympic Games London 2012 after impressively winning five medals: golds in the 200-meter backstroke, 4x200-meter freestyle and 4x100-meter medley, and a bronze in the 4x100-meter freestyle.
After a period of physical and mental struggles following the Olympic Games Rio 2016, Franklin announced her retirement in December 2018. She wanted to move on from those pains and pursue new goals.
Franklin finds it difficult to swim these days due to the shoulder injury that ended her career.
“I think because I had built up such a tolerance for my shoulder pain, as soon as I stopped swimming, I lost it,” Franklin said. “And now, unfortunately, I can barely swim [because] my pain is so bad.”
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(L-R) Anastasia Zueva (Russia), Missy Franklin and Elizabeth Beisel posing on the podium during the medal ceremony for the women's 200-meter backstroke final at the Olympic Games London 2012 on Aug. 3, 2012 in London.
“I try to get in [the pool] whenever I can and on the silver lining of that, it’s given me the chance to try tons of new exercises that I never really did before,” Franklin said.
The 24-year-old didn’t hesitate to share, however, that she misses the special moments she had with her teammates.
“Oh, I miss relays the most, hands down,” Franklin said. “Just being with my girls in the ready room before a relay, there’s nothing like it.”
While calling it a career wasn’t something easy to do, the Olympian found new opportunities to tackle that have helped maintain her positivity.
“I think without swimming and training being my No. 1 priority, I have really been able to focus on more of the opportunities that swimming gave me in the first place, which has been so amazing.”
Franklin remains involved with the USA Swimming Foundation, promoting Make a Splash and water safety for kids, as well as the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s Team USA Ambassador Program that helps prepare Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls for the Games experience.
“There is just so much I want to be involved in and so many areas I want to help that I really just need to narrow down where I can make the most impact,” Franklin said. “I would rather make a really big impact in one area than kind of feel a little bit scattered and like I’m trying to do too much.”
The next big thing on Franklin’s mind is preparing for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. This time, however, she’ll be attending as an ambassador for her sponsors.
“I’m going to be in Tokyo for the full time, which I’m so excited about,” Franklin said. “But again, I think when it comes to specific projects, for me, it’s no matter what I do, no matter who I’m working with, that it inspires people and motivates them.”
For Franklin, the biggest retirement goal was to help the younger generation similar to how she received help from her mentors and role models.
“[The biggest goal for me is] focusing on our younger generation and what I can do to help them and give back, because I stood on the shoulders of greats and there were so many people that came before me that allowed me to do what I do and what I love,” Franklin said. “I want to be able to hopefully be the shoulders that someone else gets to stand on one day.”