It’s going to be a harsh impression – divers will be gathering around the tower to start their quest at the 2022 European Championships in Rome in August, but for the first time in 14 years a legend will be missing from the pool deck. Today Patrick Hausding announced his retirement from competitive sport – thus the most decorated diver in European Championships’ history stops bettering his towering records.
The most remarkable of all is his medal-winning streak started in 2008 – ever since he never left any editions of the Europeans empty-handed, including the stand-alone diving championships. It means that he stood on the podium at 13 straight editions while amassing 37 medals, 17 of them gold.
At his best, he won medals in all five events in 2010 in Budapest (the three individual ones and in the two synchro, mixed and team competitions were not part of the programme then) – while his best run with three golds came at home four years later in Berlin when he finished atop in the 1m and 3m and in the 10m synchro.
Remarkably, aged 32, last year he was still on board for another memorable performance in Budapest when he won the 1m event and the 3m synchro and added two more bronzes to his tally. It counts 17 gold, 14 silver and 6 bronze medals – only from the Europeans.
Besides his outstanding achievements at the continental showcases, he also amazed the global audience for many times. The highlight was perhaps his world title winning performance with his long-time partner Sascha Klein with whom they stunned the Chinese to grab gold in the 10m synchro at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona, amidst epic settings on the top of the Montjuic. He had all three types of medals from the Worlds in this event and an individual silver in the 3m, claimed at the 2017 Worlds in Budapest.
And most notably, he had a fine collection from the Olympic Games too. He competed in four, took silver in the 10m synchro in Beijing 2008, a bronze in the 3m individual event in Rio and another bronze in the 3m synchro to crown his career in Tokyo.
As he revealed now, that had been his swansong last August.
I always said that Tokyo would be my last Olympic Games. And I already had in mind back then that it would probably be my last competition,” Patrick Hausding said at the press conference held today, before the German nationals starting today in Berlin. “I’m 33 years old now, my body has been through a lot. I’ve noticed that in recent years it had taken longer and longer to get into top form, and that the effort involved had increased. It’s not only very physically demanding, but also mentally, because the progress came very slowly and apart from a few months before the peak of the season, you just didn’t reach the quality you were used to before. Once you’ve been at the top, you keep setting that as your goal because you know you can do it and it’s not possible. My own standards have always been very high. But I don’t have to prove anything to anyone anymore.
Praising Patrick’s fantastic achievements, this is what Germany’s head coach of the diving team Lutz Buschkow had to say.
He was an exceptional athlete who has shaped diving not only in Germany and Europe, but worldwide over the past 15 years. All he really lacks is the Olympic win, but I think that’s compensated for by the fact that he’s been to the finals at four Olympic Games and has won three Olympic medals in total, which is an outstanding achievement. There is hardly any other athlete who has been at the top of the world with such consistency.
Though one may hardly imagine Hausding’s life without diving, the German legend has fine plans for the post-career stage. Besides wishing to spend much more time with his family, he is a teacher of English and also holds physical education lessons for the young ones.
For sure, in the field of sports, you would hardly find any more suitable educator for the next generation.