Franklin hails Phelps for 'amazing' Rio

Five-time Olympic champion Missy Franklin believes what Michael Phelps did at the Rio Olympics was remarkable.

Phelps, 31, retired from swimming after the 2012 Games before returning two years later, and his brilliance was on show in Brazil.

The American won five gold medals in Rio to take his Games tally to 23, arguably cementing his status as the greatest Olympian ever.

Franklin praised Phelps for his approach, including his decision to quit the sport after London 2012.

"I think there's a lot of reasons why what Michael did was so amazing," the 21-year-old told Omnisport.

"I think one of the main reasons was that he showed people there is no right way to do something. He showed people that you can go take a year off, you can focus on yourself and being happy again, you can focus on finding that love and passion for what you do and it's OK to take time to go and do that.

"That's so different to our four-year cycle - every year you have to do this, this and this. It gets so repetitive."

Franklin added: "I think everyone saw in Rio how evident it was that he loved swimming.

"Seeing how emotional he got after his last race, that for me was just so heartwarming. After seeing him in London versus Rio, he was just so much happier."

Another American swimmer taking centre stage in Rio was Katie Ledecky, the 19-year-old who won four golds and broke world records in the 400m and 800m freestyle.

Franklin said the performances being produced by the teenager were unprecedented.

"For those who aren't necessarily involved in swimming and just saw what she did last summer, hopefully just watching her was enough to blow you away, because what she's doing is literally unheard of," she said.

"It's never been heard of and Katie is the kind of athlete that comes up once in a century, who's going to be talked about every time someone brings up swimming.

"To be a part of this and to be able to witness this first hand has meant so much to me and it's been so inspiring.

"But she's essentially broken every single glass ceiling that she's come in contact with and not just broken it, but shattered and sailed through it.

"To have someone in sports that is doing that and refuses to put any limits on herself, I think that's the best sort of role model we can have for young people in our society today, to say there is no limit to what you do in your life, whether it's sport, whether it's business, entrepreneurship.

"You can accomplish whatever it is that you want to accomplish and don't you dare let anyone tell you that you can't do it."

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