Missy Franklin Finishes Last In 200m Freestyle Rio Debut

Missy Franklin

Everyone seems to have a theory on what's happened to Franklin: the decision to remain an amateur and attend Cal; the debilitating back spasms that surfaced on the eve of the 2014 Pan-Pacific Championships; the bevy of sponsor and media obligations that may or may not be compromising her training.

Franklin says she's talked to her mom and been reading positive messages to keep her spirits up.

Instead, she finished in 14th place overall with her time of two minutes, 9.74 seconds.

"It's so hard", she said, "knowing all the work you put in every day, and then to get here and be so far behind where you feel like you can be". "I want what's best for us and best for our country, no matter what".

A huge star at the London Games four years ago, Franklin has been one of the biggest USA disappointments in Rio de Janeiro - an inexplicable fall she's at a loss to explain.

While Franklin was a previous star for the United States in women's swimming, a newer star has emerged in Katie Ledecky. Now, all she's got left is the 200 backstroke and a likely spot on the 4x200 free relay team. She led off the relay in London, launching the victory.

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'I could see him the whole way, ' Murphy said of his tough competition in Australia's Mitch Larkin.

She's endured a mystifying loss of form since turning pro a year ago, struggling just to qualify for two individual events and a relay at the U.S. Trials. "But that's kind of how my year has gone".

"I worked as hard as I could but I fell short".

Still on her schedule in Rio is the 200m backstroke, where she is the defending champion. The favored to win the gold.

"My faith in God is really getting me through", she said.

"It's just one of those things I've been trying to wrap my mind around this year, what's been going wrong but I haven't been able to figure it out", she said on Monday.

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