Five-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Wednesday to discuss her life, career, and retirement, among other topics, and also opened up about her battles with anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
“I think I always did a really good job of keeping a sense of normalcy, but really where I failed to do that was leading up to 2016,” Franklin said in studio on The DA Show. “I don’t think I’d ever felt more alone than I did in that year, and for the first time in my life I really started to let those expectations and that pressure in.”
Franklin didn’t feel that pressure at the 2012 Games in London.
“It was my first time, no one knew who I was – everyone was just so excited for me,” she recalled. “But then all of a sudden when you do it once, people not only expect you to do it again; they expect it to be better. So I’m going into 2016 – still at 21 years old – but now instead of going to the Olympics because I love it and I’m so excited and I’m living out my dream, my fear is that I’m going to disappoint people and have a less successful Olympics, which of course I was never even thinking about during my first one.
“So carrying that weight is what led to so many mental health issues for me,” Franklin continued. “It was such a growth experience. It was miserable. I’m not going to paint over it in any way. It was the hardest time of my life, and it was such a challenge to get through it. But now being on the other side, I’m able to look back and recognize how much I learned about myself during that process.”