Five-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin is ready to watch the Tokyo 2021 games while fulfilling another dream.
Missy Franklin will be watching the Tokyo 2021 Olympics with the rest of the world. This was not the original plan for the now 26-year-old who was forced to retire at the age of 23 with mangled shoulders. Franklin had no more left to give to the sport that had given her so much.
“Going through my shoulder injury was so difficult and making the decision to not get the second one was very taxing emotionally,” Franklin told FanSided. “It was so hard to retire when I had hoped to go to three games, four games, and really to have a much longer longevity of a career than I did.”
When you set a world record at 16-years-old there is little else in life that matters. Your identity is your sport as it should be. Transitioning to a new life when retirement and a career change are forced upon you is never easy for anyone, let alone a 23-year-old.
“I talk about mental health a lot as well and that was something I struggled with after Rio (2016) was my identity as a swimmer making sure that was not all that I had to offer the world,” Franklin explained.
Missy Franklin’s greatest dream out of the pool is coming true
Franklin realized over time and some soul searching to trust her new life path. Her focus eventually started to shift to what the future could be with another fellow swimmer, now-husband Hayes Johnson, who she admits to being obsessed with.
“My greatest dream in life even more so than winning a gold medal is to be a mom and that dream is currently coming true,” Franklin said. “I know my identity is going from swimmer and wife to now mom. I think that’s the most beautiful thing about our identities is that they are so complex.”
The timing for baby Franklin Johnson could not be more perfect. The next great swimmer to be is due August 1, 2021 right in the middle of the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.
“I will be watching the games as I will be delivering our baby,” Franklin beamed.
The challenges of becoming a first-time parent can be overwhelming. Good thing Franklin can lean on her swim community and friend, three-time dad, Michael Phelps.
“I’ve known Michael since I was 13-years-old,” Franklin said “I am just so proud of him. I think he is just the most amazing dad. He has been such an incredible mentor to me.”
Perhaps the two could talk parenting and reminisce about a special and historic time during Franklin’s career when she was only 16-years-old.
“I actually broke my first world record at a meet we were at together,” Franklin recalled. “To break your first world record and then to have Michael Phelps come over and give you a hug is like, I mean talk about a trifecta! I will never ever forget that moment. It was without a doubt one of my favorite moments in my entire swimming career.”
Franklin has a lot to look back upon on an amazing career with stories to eventually tell to the new arrival when the time is right.
Missy Franklin is working with Bridgestone Tires this Olympic and summer driving season and wants you to remember that tires are an important safety feature on your vehicle.