Olympic Bronze Medalist Tina Punzel Retires from Diving

Germany’s Tina Punzel, a two-time Olympian and bronze medalist at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, announced her retirement from diving on January 16th.

27-year-old Punzel has won seven European Championship medals over her career, starting in 2014 in her home country of Germany. The Dresden native earned gold in women’s 3-meter springboard in Tokyo alongside her teammate Lena Hentschel and most recently took home two gold medals at the 2022 European Championships in Rome.

This olympic medal was all I dreamed of for my whole diving career and I pushed my body and mind to the limits and beyond to reach my biggest dream. Achieving it togehter with @lena_17_01, I have experienced the highest of highs in my career and I enjoyed it as long as possible! I took a break till the end of 2021 and after that I came back and enjoyed training and competing more than ever before, but I felt that something has changed.

I couldn’t push my body and my mind to the limits any longer. I know what it takes to be in the best shape I can be for the olympics and honestly I’m not ready to go this journey again.

I am now ready for the next chapter!

“Thanks to all the people who have supported me along the way! This journey would not have been possible without you❤️”

Punzel made her international debut at the 2013 European Diving Championships in Rostock, Germany at 17 years old where she won women’s 3-meter springboard, placed 4th in the 3-meter synchronized event with Kieu Trang Duong, and placed 7th on 1-meter springboard. She continued to compete internationally, taking home three medals at the 2014 European Championships in Berlin (silver in the women’s 3-meter synchronized event and bronze in both the 3-meter and 3-meter and 10-meter team events.)

Punzel competed on the Olympic stage for the first time at the 2016 Rio Olympics, less than a week after turning 21 years old. She placed as high as 7th on women’s 3-meter synchronized springboard with Nora Subschinski. The young German diver went on to collect two medals at the 2018 European Championships, foreshadowing her success at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwanju, Korea where she won bronze in the mixed 3-meter springboard event with Lou Noel Massenburg.

Her momentum seemed to have her set up for success at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed for one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The delay put additional strain on all Olympic athletes including Punzel who was also studying economics at the Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) at the time. In Tokyo, Punzel achieved her dream of winning an Olympic medal, finishing third on women’s 3-meter synchronized with Hentschel. She also placed 5th in the women’s synchronized 10m platform event with Christina Wassen.

Punzel took a break from the sport following the Tokyo Olympics, through the end of the year, to focus on her studies, according to her full statement to the Dresden Sports Club. She returned to diving in 2022 and promptly won the women’s and mixed 3-meter synchronized events at the 2022 European Championships in Rome. 

Diving is in Tina Punzel’s blood. She started to learn how to swim and do gymnastics at five years old, she told the magazine Elements in September 2020. Her father, Rainer Punzel, competed on Germany’s national diving team and Tina often trained at the same pool he did during his career, the Dresden Sports Club.

Looking forward, Punzel will continue to focus on studying business and economics and she plans to stay active, but not necessarily on the diving board. “Of course, I’ll continue to do sports, but in a way I enjoy it,” she told the Dresden Sports Club, “I go to the gym three times a week to play football and to do CrossFit, but just because I feel like moving.”

Tina Punzel‘s Major International Medals:

  • 2013 European Diving Championships – gold – women’s 3-meter springboard
  • 2014 European Championships – silver – women’s 3-meter synchronized
  • 2014 European Championships – bronze – women’s 1-meter springboard
  • 2014 European Championships – bronze – mixed 3-meter and 10-meter team
  • 2018 European Championships – silver – women’s 3-meter synchronized
  • 2018 European Championships – bronze – women’s 3-meter springboard
  • 2019 World Championships – bronze – mixed 3-meter synchronized
  • 2021 Tokyo Olympics – bronze – women’s 3-meter synchronized 
  • 2022 European Championships – gold – women’s 3-meter synchronized
  • 2022 European Championships – gold – mixed 3-meter synchronized

Competition Videos:

2021 Tokyo Olympics – women’s 3-meter synchronized

courtesy of Olympics on Youtube

2022 European Championships – women’s 3-meter springboard

courtesy of Diving Club on Youtube

2013 World Championships – women’s 1-meter springboard

courtesy of Diving Club on Youtube

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About Annika Johnson

Annika Johnson

Annika came into the sport competitively at age eight, following in the footsteps of her twin sister and older brother. The sibling rivalry was further fueled when all three began focusing on distance freestyle, forcing the family to buy two lap counters. Annika is a three-time Futures finalist in the 200 …

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