Five-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin announced her retirement from swimming Wednesday.
Franklin shared the news in an essay published on espnW. The 23-year-old said her 2017 diagnosis with severe chronic tendonitis in her rotator cuff and bicep tendon contributed to her decision to step away from the pool.
Franklin said the doctors suggested she have surgery, but called the procedure a "long shot." After she decided not to undergo surgery, she said she realized what she really wanted most in life.
"I began to realize that my greatest dream in life, more so than Olympic gold, has always been becoming a mom," Franklin wrote. "Swimming had been such a huge part of my life for as long as I could remember, but it was not my entire life. I still have dreams, goals, aspirations and intentions I plan on living out every day of my life."
Franklin rose to prominence at the 2012 London Olympic Games, where she won five gold medals and one bronze at the age of 17. The swimmer later chose to not turn professional but instead enrolled at the University of California-Berkley. She competed on the Golden Bears' swim team and was part of their 2015 NCAA championship team.
At the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Franklin's physical struggles kept her from qualifying for the finals in her individual events but she won a gold medal after swimming the preliminary heat in the 4x200-meter freestyle.
Franklin plans to continue to be a part of swimming and admitted she is finally "ready" to say she's retiring.
"This is by no means the end. Rather, I choose to look at this as a new beginning," she said. "Swimming has been, and always will be, a big part of my life and I absolutely plan to stay involved in what I believe is the best sport in the world, just in a different way. I hope to continue to inspire others to be their best, both in and out of the pool, and I'm truly excited about this next chapter and how my relationship with the sport will continue to change and grow."