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After shock retirement at 23, Missy Franklin finds peace in Hinduism


London: Learning Hinduism and reading the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata have taken a chunk of Missy Franklin’s time ever since the five-time Olympic gold-medallist swimmer announced a shock retirement in December last year.

Chronic shoulder pain forced the 23-year-old to call time on her career but on the bright side, it allowed her to do things that she couldn’t do as an active athlete.


Earlier, she did Yoga for fun but after exploring Hinduism, it became a spiritual experience for the bubbly American, who is majoring in religion at the University of Georgia.

“I have been studying religion for a year now and it is so fascinating and eye opening. I love learning different cultures, people and their faith,” Franklin said on the sidelines of the Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco.

“My own religion is Christianity but two classes I have found so intriguing are Hinduism and Islam. Because those are the two religions I did not know a lot about and after reading and learning about them, I think they are beautiful,” said the winner of four gold medals at the London Olympics.

Besides a champion athlete, Franklin also comes across as a bright student who knows quite a bit about Hinduism. She is fascinated by the Ramayana and Mahabharata and has also made a conscious effort to learn the unfamiliar names in the two epics.

“I think the most beautiful aspect of Hinduism is the idea of Karma and of being good to one another, doing good deeds and how that all comes back to you, how the universe works.

“I find their myths and tales incredible, it is also fascinating to know about their gods, reading the Mahabharata and Ramayana has been such an amazing experience for me.

“The family names in Mahabharata would always confuse me but I remember learning about Ram and Sita in the Ramayana. How Sita lived her life, how loyal she stayed to Rama,” she said.