Often referred to as one of the swimming world’s sweethearts, Missy Franklin had to change things up when she lost out on the medal positions in every swimming event in Rio, bar the relay, where she won a gold medal with her relay team. The 21-year-old swimmer had to take a step back to reflect on how it went wrong for her in Rio, and the best possible ways to get over the disappointment, after having such high expectations of herself.
While granting an interview in Monaco prior to the Laureus World Sports Awards, “There is a lot of pressure,” she shared. “It is the Olympics, and everyone feels that – it is the Olympics. For me, when I am out there, I care most about the people that have helped me get to where I am.” Continuing, she said, “When I feel like I haven’t lived up to my own expectations, I feel like I am not living up to theirs. So I know those people that got me there, the only thing they care about is me having fun and doing my best. They said, ‘You did your best. You qualified for your second Olympic team at 21, and you still got a gold medal.’”
Franklin admitted that it was this positive outlook that made it possible for her to remain focused on her set goals and make all the necessary alterations she needed to make, starting with changing teams.
Initially, Franklin swam for the Cal Berkeley Bears Women’s Team, before turning pro and deciding to train solo for the Rio Olympic Games. Afterwards, she made a choice to return to Berkeley for school, but remained a pro, training with the coach Dave Durden led Cal men’s team – a postgraduate professional male team.
Gushing about her new teammates, Franklin said, “My Bear Bros – it is awesome. It is amazing.” It was clear to see that she is having so much fun with her new teammates.
Missy Franklin appears to be a grounded young woman. Talking about the added excitement of being teammates with Speedo-clad and well-toned guys, she gave an insight into what training can be like. “We were training at the Olympic Training Centre, and there is a hot tub, and we were all in there afterwards, there is me and like 25 guys in the hot tub and one of my teammates looked over at me and said, ‘Do you know how many girls’ dream this is right now?’ ‘And I was like – don’t flatter yourself.’”
“My teammates, my coach, to train with a group of men that are so motivated and are so fun, and just enjoying what they are doing and pushing each other and pushing me, it is incredible. They have really accepted me, which I appreciate so much. I definitely get a hard time, but so does everyone else. When you get a little bit of grief, you feel like you are in.”