RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Missy Franklin’s Olympics came to a sad end on Thursday after the U.S. golden girl of London 2012 failed to make the women’s 200m backstroke final with a time more than five seconds off her world record.
“I‘m disappointed not to be able to represent my country tomorrow. I‘m glad this is over,” the tearful 21-year-old told reporters.
”You know, it’s been a really hard year for me and it’s going to take some time so that’s what I plan to do, spending quality time with my family and getting back in my feet.
“I worked as hard as I could but I fell short. I wish there was an explanation.”
Franklin set records on her way to four golds and a bronze medal at her first Games. But for Rio 2016, she qualified in just two individual events -- the 200 meters freestyle and 200 meters backstroke -- at the trials in Omaha.
The world record holder and Olympic champion in 200m backstroke had gone into the semi-finals with only the 11th best time and it got worse.
She was 14th out of the 16 semi-finalists, her time of two minutes, 9.74 seconds, well off the world record 2:04.06 she set in London.
In the 200 meters freestyle, Franklin reached the semi-finals but was then 13th.
She did collect a gold in the 4x200 freestyle relay on Wednesday but, again, was absent from the final having been dropped after the heats.
All those who take part in the heats are eligible for a medal, making that the fifth gold of her career and the one she is likely to savor the least.
“I felt like David facing Goliath but I didn’t have any stones in my pocket,” she said.
Additional reporting by Caroline Stauffer, editing by Greg Stutchbury