FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2012, file photo, United States' Missy Franklin reacts to her gold medal win in the women's 200-meter backstroke final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The five-time Olympic champion is retiring from swimming at age 23, citing chronic shoulder pain that has affected her for the last 2 and a half years. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

Swimmer Missy Franklin retires at 23, citing chronic pain

December 19, 2018 - 2:17 pm

Five-time Olympic champion Missy Franklin is retiring from swimming at age 23. She cites chronic shoulder pain that has affected her for the last 2½ years.

She announced her plans Wednesday in a letter posted on ESPN.com .

Franklin's success and bubbly personality made her a darling of the 2012 London Olympics. At age 17, she became the first woman to win four gold medals in a single Olympics in any sport.

At the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, Franklin failed to make the finals in either of her two individual events and won her only medal, a gold, by swimming the preliminary heat of the 4x200-meter freestyle relay.

She had surgery on both shoulders early last year, but the pain never completely subsided.

Franklin's last competitive race was in the 200 free at the U.S. nationals in July. She finished third in the C final.

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