DENVER (CBS4) — Colorado’s Missy Franklin has announced her retirement from competitive swimming. The five-time Olympic gold medalist is 23 years old.

Missy Franklin during the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships at the Woollett Aquatic Center on Au. 9, 2014 in Irvine, California. (credit: Harry How/Getty Images)

“This was perhaps the hardest letter I’ve ever had to write,” Franklin posted on Twitter. “There are so many words to say and I thank you all for letting me share them with you, and for your continued support. Today, I announce my retirement from competitive swimming.”

Her tweet linked to a much longer statement on ESPN.com.

The graduate of Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora recently announced her engagement to fellow swimmer Hayes Johnson via Instagram.

Missy Franklin and Hayes Johnson (credit: Christian Alminana/Getty Images for Laureus)

In January, Franklin relocated to Athens, Georgia, where she is pursuing a psychology degree. The AP reported that she was mounting a comeback in the pool after a disappointing showing at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. She barely the U.S. team.

Then in March, she had surgery on both shoulders.

“After I made it through the Olympics, I knew we had to finally address the pain that I had been using every ounce of energy to ignore. In January and February of 2017, I had surgery on my left and right shoulders. It should have been a quick recovery, but when I was back in the pool in April, I knew based on my pain level that I needed more time to heal,” Franklin wrote in her statement on ESPN.com. “I took the summer off and ended up reconnecting with the man I will be marrying next year. I can’t even begin to explain how God’s timing works, but all I know is that it is beautiful, perfect and magical.”

Missy Franklin talks with the media during the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team Training Camp Media Day (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

But after months after surgery, Franklin wrote that she was still in ‘excruciating’ pain.  She was diagnosed with severe chronic tendonitis — and faced another surgery.

Franklin wrote that she made the decision after some loving words from Johnson.

But what matters to me the most, more than anything, is that you can hold our children in your arms one day without being in excruciating pain,'” Franklin quoted him as saying. “I began to realize that my greatest dream in life, more so than Olympic gold, has always been becoming a mom.”

 

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