Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin on the ‘most epic moment’ for every American swimmer ahead of 2024 Games

The Olympic experience is unlike any other.

It is the culmination of hard work, dedicated training, mental fortitude, and so much more. It is also a moment few athletes get to share in – representing your country on the biggest international stage.

Missy Franklin of the United States prepares to start the Women’s 200m Backstroke Final on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on August 3, 2012, in London, England. (Clive Rose/Getty Images)

“It’s so hard to put into words,” Missy Franklin, a six-time Olympic medalist, told Fox News Digital in a recent interview.


“One of the most epic moments as a swimmer is when you first make the national team. And it’s the first time you get a cap with the American flag and your name on it. And that moment as a swimmer, is like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ That’s your ‘I’ve made it moment’”

That moment first came for Franklin in 2012 when she got the chance to represent Team USA at the Summer Games in London. Franklin, who was just 17 at the time, dominated the pool winning five medals, including four gold, and set several records in the process.

“No matter what the meet is, having your name alongside an American flag and realizing that you are not just representing your club team, you’re not just representing your family, you’re not just representing yourself – you’re representing your country.”

Megan Romano and Missy Franklin, right, of the USA celebrate after the Swimming Women’s 4x100m Freestyle on day nine of the 15th FINA World Championships at Palau Sant Jordi on July 28, 2013, in Barcelona, Spain. (Adam Pretty/Getty Images)


“And then to go and do it on a stage like the Olympics, it means so much to every single one of us, and I think you see that,” Franklin continued.

“There’s just so much pride, there’s so much honor in being there. And I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re able to perform so well is because it’s just that extra bit of motivation and pride of like, ‘We’re here.’ And not only do we want to make ourselves proud, our team proud, our coaches proud, we want to make our country proud.”

Franklin, now 29, has represented the U.S. at two Olympics. She won her fifth gold medal in the women’s 4×200 meter freestyle relay at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

Swimmers Missy Franklin, left, and Megan Romano compete in Heat 16 of the women’s 100M Backstroke on day two of the 2012 US Olympic Team Trials on June 26, 2012, in Omaha, Nebraska. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/GettyImages)

But Franklin is heading back, only this time she’ll be adjacent to that stage.

“I’ll be there doing multiple different things. As a former athlete, when you get to go to another Olympics, you kind of end up working with lots of different groups while you’re over there,” Franklin said.

“I am just so honored to be going there. It’ll be my first time going to an Olympics that I’m not competing in. So, as a spectator, I’m just so excited to see what I can see and really take in the experience without the pressure of actually having to compete.”

The Paris Olympics are slated to begin July 26, but the Olympic trials for USA swimming begin this weekend at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

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Paulina Dedaj is a Sports Reporter for Fox News Digital.

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