Missy Franklin swam her way into America’s hearts at the London Olympics in 2012, but she followed that performance up with a bit of a letdown in Rio at the Summer Olympics last year. Some thought she had lost her edge, but it turns out she may have had some physical issues holding her back from dominance in the pool.

Franklin announced on Wednesday that she is taking some time off from swimming to recover from shoulder surgery.

“I had started feeling pain in my shoulders last year but it wasn’t until early January, when I had an MRI, that I learned that I had bursitis in both shoulders,” Franklin explained, via Twitter. “I had separate surgeries on both shoulders earlier this year to get rid of the built up bursal and scar tissue and my focus now is to take the time I need to get better.”

Franklin has not competed since the Rio games. Her letdown in Rio left her reduced to tears as she failed to live up to the standard she had set four years prior in London with four gold medals and six additional gold medals the following year at the FINA World Championships.

Many labeled Franklin a disappointment in Rio, although the writing appeared to be on the wall before arriving in Brazil after a surprisingly underwhelming showing at the United States trials. During the 2016 Olympics, Franklin struggled with a variety of emotions and has taken strides since then in overcoming her not-so-golden Olympic performance.

“Everyone knows what it’s like to fail—and here I’d failed in front of billions of people,” Franklin previously said in her book, Relentless Spirit: The Unconventional Raising of a Champion. “I’d let my teammates down. I’d let my country down. I’d let myself down, most of all. And yet through it all, I kept reminding myself that everyone knows what it’s like to work hard for something and not get it. The real opportunity here was in showing the world what failure can look like, in a positive way.”

It may still be a tad too early to determine whether or not Franklin will be in the mix for the next Summer Olympics in 2020 in Tokyo, but if shoulder surgery was needed to regain her form and technique to get Franklin back on the podium, get ready for a brilliant return from Franklin in the next few years.

[Washington Post]

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Previously contributed to NBCSports.com. Host of the Locked On Nittany Lions Podcast. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.