6 Aug 2018

Teen Massenberg bridges age gap to give German pair medal-winning diving performance

Teenager Lou Massenberg (GER) had to tread the boards in place of one of Germany's most accomplished divers on Monday - and delivered his country a surprise silver medal in the mixed team event at Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh.

Teenager Lou Massenberg (GER) had to tread the boards in place of one of Germany's most accomplished divers on Monday - and delivered his country a surprise silver medal in the mixed team event at Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh.

Massenberg, 17, was called up at the last minute to replace Patrick Hausding, a multiple European champion, and paired with Maria Kurjo, who is 11 years his senior. The combination of youth and experience paid off and the duo secured second place with 352.60 points behind Ukrainians Sofiia Lyskun and Oleg Kolodiy.

Massenberg only found out he would be competing less than 24 hours before the competition started. "I didn't know until 11.30am yesterday that I was going to take part," he said. "I was expecting to get a medal in the 3m mixed synchro with Tina (Punzel) as we won one [bronze] with her last year [at the European diving championships]. This is pushing me further for my next event."

Of the seven teams competing, Kurjo and Massenberg had the largest age gap with 11 years. Kurjo has been diving since the age of nine - two years before Massenberg was even born. "Now I feel old," Kurjo said, laughing. "It's quite common to put the younger and more experienced ones together. Mixing the ages allows the younger divers to gain experience from the more professional ones and learn how to stay cool and enjoy the competition," the six-time European medallist said.

The two divers are not only different in age, but also in how they behave during the competition. While Kurjo prefers to avoid the scoreboard and tries not to pay attention to what is going on around her, Massenberg is eager to see what his fellow competitors are doing.

"I don't like watching the scoreboard. I do my dive and I go away," Kurjo said., while her partner added: "I'm the complete opposite, I want to see how everyone else is doing."

Massenberg will compete in the 3m mixed synchronised with Punzel on Wednesday, while Kurjo is back on the platform on Tuesday in the 10m women's synchronised and in the 10m on Wednesday.