Italian vegan Massimo Leopardi made a fantastic comeback to diving, winning two medals at the Italian Masters. Massimo was competing with his team, M.R. Sport.
The competition marks a return after a frustrating injury.
“It was three and a half years that I had not trained due to a small neck injury” Massimo told Great vegan Athletes. “Just during the lock down Cesare, one of my coaches, writes me a message saying that it was time to return. I still had neck pain but that message moved me and I decided to try to return.”
Massimo competed in three events, taking bronze in the 1-metre springboard and 3–metre springboard. He narrowly missed a medal on the platform, finishing fourth.
150 participants across all categories complied with social distancing – and Massimo had to hang his own medal around his neck. The competition was warmly received by all involved, although for Massimo it was a recovery of his ability to compete.
“Going back to training I had, first of all, to make sure to strengthen my body with serious workouts in the gym. Especially the neck had to be re-educated.
“By training I began to feel better, both in terms of strength and mental. In December I began to consider the possibility of participating in the first competition of the season.”
Another setback pccurred as Massimo was hospitalised with COVID-19, although he recovered quickly.
“With difficulty I started training again but in a couple of weeks I was stronger than before. I think the vegan diet helped me a lot in this.”
As well as a former National Champion and competitor at the World Masters Championships, Massimo is known for his educational work. He is the founder of Veggie Channel which is an established and respected website in Italy.
The World Championships
And while his plan is to compete at the World Championships this year. At the moment he doesn’t know yet whether he will make it.
“This will be decided by a commission. In the meantime I will have to participate in the Italian summer championships in Riccione and immediately after in the European ones in the Netherlands.
“Anyway, if I continue like this and if I don’t get hurt, I will definitely go to the Worlds and not go home empty-handed.”