Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Missy Franklin announces retirement at 23 years old

On Wednesday, decorated 23-year-old Olympian Missy Franklin announced her retirement from competitive swimming. She published a letter on ESPN detailing her decision. The five-time gold medalist said that chronic shoulder pain was a major factor in her retirement. The injury that has hindered her since April 2016.

Franklin broke out during the London Olympics in 2012, picking up four gold medals and clearly having a great time doing it. Franklin also appeared in the 2016 Olympic Games, notching one more gold medal in Rio de Janeiro. However, in spite of the medal dropoff, Franklin called the Rio Olympics the "greatest accomplishment" of her career.

"Looking back, surviving through those eight days in Rio was the greatest accomplishment of my career," she wrote in her letter, posted on ESPN. "I was able to stay true to who I was as much in failure and disappointment as I had been in winning and being the best in the world."

Franklin seems steadfast in her decision. Here's more from her letter:

"It took me a long time to say the words, 'I am retiring,'" Franklin wrote. "A long, long time. But now I'm ready. 

"I'm ready to not be in pain every day. I'm ready to become a wife, 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."

Franklin is the world record holder in the 200-meter backstroke, and her trophy case is remarkably decorated. She won gold in the 2013 world championships in the 100-meter backstroke, 200-meter backstroke, 200-meter freestyle, 4x100-meter freestyle, 4x200-meter freestyle and 4x100-meter mixed medley the year after her dominance in the Olympics. In 2014, she battled through a back injury to medal four times at the Pan-Pacific Championships, and in 2015 she medaled five times -- two of them gold -- in the world championships.

All things told, Franklin won 27 international medals, and, at 23, Franklin has still plenty to look forward to.

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