Missy Franklin fueled by frustration going into Orlando meet

Missy Franklin
AP
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Missy Franklin‘s last swim meet didn’t go as she hoped in Austin in January — zero wins and slower times in three of her four events than at the same meet four years ago.

“I definitely don’t want to come off as everything’s happy all the time,” Franklin said Wednesday ahead of an Orlando meet that runs from Thursday through Saturday. “When I come back from some of these meets, I am for sure frustrated. Austin was a perfect example.”

In Austin, Franklin was slower than her January 2012 times in the 100m freestyle (by .32), 100m backstroke (by .11) and 200m back (by 1.03 seconds). She was faster in the 200m free by .37, though four years ago she was busier in Austin, swimming seven total events versus four this year.

“I had been training so hard and been doing so well in practice and left [Austin in January] being really frustrated,” Franklin said. “Why is this not coming through? Why is this not being shown in what I’m racing? I think it’s important to let yourself feel like that because if you do push those feelings aside and pretend like they’re not there, they’re all going to come back and hit you at a time when you don’t want them to. So I let myself be frustrated. I let myself feel that, and I use that to fuel me.”

Franklin earned four gold medals at the 2012 Olympics and six at the 2013 World Championships, but at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships (where she was slowed by back spasms) and the 2015 World Championships she earned zero individual gold medals.

From June through October, she entered six meets and won zero individual events.

Though she was pleased ending the winless drought at a Minneapolis meet in November, she remains an underdog in her four individual events with the Olympics five months away.

Australian Emily Seebohm swept the backstrokes at the World Championships in August.

Katie Ledecky added the 200m freestyle title to her growing collection, and Australian sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell and Sweden’s Sarah Sjöström are tops in the 100m free, the weakest of Franklin’s quartet.

Of those rivals, only Ledecky and Sjöström raced in Austin and only Ledecky is racing in Orlando the next three days.

Franklin did not compete at the equivalent of this weekend’s meet four years ago, so it could be tougher to gauge where she’s at.

In Orlando, NBC Sports Live Extra will stream the Friday and Saturday finals live at 6 p.m. ET. USASwimming.org will have a live webcast of the entire meet, which starts Thursday.

MORE: Missy Franklin co-authors book

Olympic flame to travel by sea for Paris 2024, welcomed by armada

Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay Marseille
Paris 2024
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The Olympic flame will travel from Athens to Marseille by ship in spring 2024 to begin the France portion of the torch relay that ends in Paris on July 26, 2024.

The torch relay always begins in the ancient Olympic site of Olympia, Greece, where the sun’s rays light the flame. It will be passed by torch until it reaches Athens.

It will then cross the Mediterranean Sea aboard the Belem, a three-masted ship, “reminiscent of a true Homeric epic,” according to Paris 2024. It will arrive at the Old Port of Marseille, welcomed by an armada of boats.

Marseille is a former Greek colony and the oldest city in France. It will host sailing and some soccer matches during the Paris Olympics.

The full 2024 Olympic torch relay route will be unveiled in May.

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Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay Marseille
Paris 2024

Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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