Missy Franklin joins board of Indian NGO that empowers women

The Olympic swimming champion cited her passion for the cause and how she can devote her time now that she has retired.

By Rahul Venkat ·

Five-time Olympic gold medallist swimmer Missy Franklin has shifted her focus from pool to charity work after she announced that she would be part of the board of Indian NGO Yuwa.

Missy Franklin, who was inducted into the Laureus World Sports Academy last year, first came across Yuwa when she handed them the ‘Laureus Sport for Good’ award as one of her first activities after entering the academy.

As she learnt more about the work Yuwa does – using football to help young girls in the state of Jharkhand overcome violence and child marriage – she found herself inspired by the initiative.

“I’m so excited to say that as well as being a Laureus Academy Member, I am also now a board member at Yuwa and doing a lot of work with Franz and Rose (Gastler - co-founders) for their community out there and for the school that they have for young girls,” she said.

The plan ahead

Missy Franklin, who won four golds and a bronze at the 2012 Olympics in London before adding another gold at Rio 2016, had to retire from swimming at the age of 23 due to chronic shoulder pains.

While she may have had to stop competing prematurely, the decision has allowed her to turn her attention to her other passions.

Though the Olympic champion is currently in quarantine at home in the USA, she hoped to visit the organization once things get back to normal and also listed out what she intended to do in the future.

“Ultimately, our plan is to build a permanent girls school there,” she said. “I'm really hoping I can get out there in the future to see everyone and see the girls, and learn a few football skills cause I'm a little lacking in that area!”

Missy Franklin is not the first swimmer to help out in India. Celebrated Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice had also announced that she would be setting up the ‘Stephanie Rice Swimming Academy’ in India.

The three-time Olympic gold medallist had stated that she wanted to build infrastructure that would gradually help Indian swimmers win medals, hopefully at the 2028 Olympics.

“There are a lot of amazing swimmers in India right now. Unfortunately, a lot of them don’t train in India. They train in the US and Thailand. I would love to bring those athletes back home at the Stephanie Rice Swimming Academy. I would like to have them trained under high-level coaches in India,” she had told Sportstar last year.