The Braunschweig brothers united by swimming. From Berlin German Para champion Malte cheers Ole on competing at Roma 2022
Rome 2022 will long be remembered by Germany's Ole Braunschweig, who managed to win his first international medal at the European championships. The 24-year-old swimmer placed third in the men's 50m backstroke yesterday, 15 August. "It was absolutely unexpected," the record-holder and national champion in the men’s 50m and 100m backstroke said after the race, "It was something I had always dreamed of. Getting my first medal at the European championships makes me super happy."
Ole started training at the age of five and when he began going to the pool, he was followed by his younger brother Malte, born with a dysmelia (a malformation of the right arm), who was only three years old at the time. They both decided to start competing at a professional level but success came first for the youngest Braunschweig. "I was in seventh grade," Ole said, "when Malte won his first German championship title in Para swimming. Malte is now the national Para swimming record holder in the men’s 50m and 100m freestyle and the 100m butterfly.
The two brothers together have always dreamed of participating in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. Malte was the first to qualify, and shortly afterwards Ole did too.
In Tokyo, for the first time in history, Germany were represented by one brother at the Olympics and the other at the Paralympics. "We want to show our parents that all the time and money they invested in us was worth it and that they can be proud of us," Ole said.
From home in Berlin, Malte and his parents followed and cheered Ole's first European medal here in Rome. The Para swimming champion congratulated his brother with a post on Instagram expressing all his happiness and satisfaction with this achievement.
"It’s indescribable what you managed to do today. When I see the path you have taken and the obstacles you have overcome, I can only express my absolute pride. You are my great role model,' Malte wrote under a photo of them together as children.”
Both brothers are superstitious. Malte always has a pink unicorn with him, which he once fished out of a vending machine at the Christmas market. Malte gave it the name 'Marten'. "Marten is with me on every training and competition trip," Malte explained, "Marten always reminds me of home.” Ole's travelling companion in the various competitions and also here at Roma 2022, is a green cap of Ireland, exchanged in 2018 with Irish swimmer Conor Ferguson. His coach Lasse Frank calls him 'Hulk', recalling Ole's irrepressible energy and, of course, the lucky green cap with which he qualified for Tokyo 2020.
Ole Braunschweig's events in Rome are not over, however. The German swimmer is still competing in the men’s 100m backstroke and Malte’s support will certainly not be unheard from afar.
Photos Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto Use of photographs is only permitted for publications registered for editorial purposes. Credits must be mentioned.