Resilience - In and Out of the Swimming Pool
Missy Franklin’s swimming career has been full of ups and downs, so it is resilience that kept her pushing to become the five time Olympic gold medalist and four time World record holder she is today. Resilience is what sustained her when her shoulder pain became horrific, forcing her into retirement after the 2016 Olympics, and gave her the ability to face the mental struggles she faced with that transition. Today, she speaks to audiences about how being resilient can help you reach your goals and get to where you want to be.
Olympic Swimmer Missy Franklin reflects on the roles of gratitude, optimism and grit when weathering the extreme ups and downs of her career and life
MISSY FRANKLIN has been swimming competitively since the age of five, so it was a dream fulfilled when she won four gold medals and one bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, breaking a 40-year world record. Combined with her 11 FINA World Championship medals, Franklin is the most decorated female swimmer in a single championship. The grit it takes to be so victorious sustained Franklin when her shoulder pain became so great that she was forced to retire, and she began sharing her discipline of gratitude as a way to maintain her resilience and mental health. Franklin is an inspiring mentor to young athletes and dreamers of all types, and consistently earns praise for her down-to-earth style and approachability. Her book Relentless Spirit chronicles how her upbringing fostered her achievement and how we can support the next generation of dreamers.
Missy Franklin, who was raised in Centennial, Colorado began swimming competitively at the age of five and competed in her first international event at the age of 14. In 2011, she established herself as one of the top swimmers in the world when she won five medals – three of them gold – at the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai.
At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Franklin won four gold medals and one bronze medal. Franklin’s performance in the 200-meter backstroke broke the world record in the event and also marked the first time that an American had won the event in 40 years.
She followed her Olympic success by winning six gold medals at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona, becoming the most decorated female swimmer in history at a single World Championships. In 2014, Touch the Wall, a documentary following her life and preparation for the Olympics, was released with two thumbs up from swimmers and non-swimmers alike.
A member of the U.S. National Team, Franklin competed at UC-Berkeley before turning professional. While there, she earned four individual NCAA titles and helped Cal win the 2015 NCAA Women’s Division I Swimming and Diving Team Championship. She was also awarded the 2015 Collegiate Woman of the Year and awarded the Honda Cup for her collegiate athletic achievements. Following the 2015 World Championships in Russia, Franklin owns more World Championship titles than any female swimmer in history.
Recognized for her bright smile and engaging personality, Franklin has been named “World Swimmer of the Year" and "American Swimmer of the Year" by Swimming World Magazine and earned the ESPY for Best Female Olympian in 2013 and Best Female College Athlete in 2015.
Franklin brought home another gold medal from the 2016 Rio Olympics for her performance in the 4 x 200 relay. After recently finishing her degree in psychology with a minor in education at The University of Georgia, she moved back to her beloved home state of CO. She currently resides in Denver with her husband, Hayes, and their Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, Ollie.