Five-time U.S. Olympian Missy Franklin stunned the world when she announced that she would be hanging up her swimming goggles and retiring from the sport of competitive swimming.
A highly successful swimmer, the 23-year-old not only snatched up five Olympic medals and set a world record in the 200-meter backstroke, but she also netted two FINA Swimmer of the Year Awards. She announced her retirement in a letter shared through ESPN, where she emotionally shared her reasons.
The recently engaged swimmer hasn’t had it easy in this sport despite her accolades. Winning 27 medals in international competition, including 16 gold medals, takes a toll on the body. Many predicted Missy would be the female Michael Phelps, but instead she underwent double shoulder surgery. She has also had battles with depression. She then injured her back after joining the University of California-Berkeley swim team, delaying her decision to turn pro.
Because of her blazing successes, Missy was rewarded with a nice endorsement from athletic swimwear company Speedo. She told Swimming World Magazine after the endorsement was announced that it was the perfect fit for both her and the company.
“I love being in the water whether I am training, competing or just having fun, and I am excited to partner with Speedo to share my passion with others and inspire them to get in the water, too. Speedo is a brand I have trusted since I began swimming. With their support, I know I can reach my goals, and am looking forward to working with them in both the competitive swimming and fitness categories,” she said.
After helping the California Golden Bears snatch an NCAA championship, she turned pro and really started touting the Speedo brand. The company and Missy shared numerous photos of herself sporting swimming suit styles that she could never wear in competition.
Speedo appointed Missy as a year-round brand ambassador, which required her to wear Speedo race suits when representing the U.S. at all major competitions globally.
Missy shared on Instagram how thrilled she was for the opportunity with Speedo. She loves being a part of the design side, too.
“I wanted to combine colors that you don’t necessarily see together all the time. I wanted to brighten up someone’s day, and put together some of the most fun and bright color options we had!” she shared.
Dabbling in fashion also helped alleviate Missy’s performance anxiety that emerged alongside her depression. She admitted to the New York Times that she had to work through it herself. It will be interesting to see where Missy’s career goes from her and what amazing swimming suit designs are unveiled for the upcoming season.