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/ Source: TODAY
By Kristen Torres

Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin has announced her retirement.

The 23-year-old Olympic gold medalist, who's battled shoulder pain in recent years, revealed to fans via a post on Instagram and in a letter on ESPN.com that she is taking a step back from competitive swimming.

The Instagram post included two adorable throwback videos from her earlier years as a swimmer.

"This was perhaps the hardest letter I’ve ever had to write," she captioned the post. "There are so many words to say and I thank you all for letting me share them with you, and for your continued support. Today, I announce my retirement from competitive swimming."

Franklin competed in both the London Olympics, where she won four gold medals and a bronze, and the Rio Olympics, where she won one gold medal.

"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," Franklin wrote in her ESPN.com message. "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."

In September, Franklin announced her engagement to fellow swimmer Hayes Johnson.

"Thank you for making this the easiest answer to any question I’ve ever been asked,'' she wrote at the time. "Yes. Yes. Yes. A million times over. I will never be able to thank you enough. For making last night the best of my life. For being the most thoughtful and loving man I’ve ever known. For being my best friend, my soulmate, my safe haven, and now my FIANCÉ! I’m about to get my Johnson on!!!"

Franklin has much to look forward to as she enters her "next chapter." As she wrote in her letter for ESPN.com, "I'm ready to not be in pain every day. I'm ready to become a wife and, one day, a mother. I'm ready to continue growing each and every day to be the best person and role model I can be. I'm ready for the rest of my life."