In the years since his Olympic debut, diver David Boudia has become the face of USA Diving. Now headed to his third Olympic Games, the 27-year-old diver and Texas native is hoping to do something that no one has done since the 1980s — repeat as Olympic champion. In Rio, Boudia is slated to compete in the individual and the synchronized 10m platform events. His synchro partner is Steele Johnson.
Below, you’ll find five facts to help you get to know this accomplished Olympic diver ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
1. Boudia decided he would become and Olympian more than 20 years ago.
While watching the Opening Ceremony of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, a seven-year-old David set a goal and made up his mind to become an Olympian, according to his website. Just 12 short years later, Boudia found himself competing at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where he finished 10th in the 10m platform and fifth in the synchronized 10m platform events.
2. After the 2008 Olympics, Boudia struggled with depression.
After what he believed to be a disappointing finish at the Beijing Olympic Games, David Boudia reportedly had suicidal thoughts and struggled with depression. Boudia has said repeatedly that his faith in God helped him to overcome the deep depression he faced in 2009. In 2015, David told Boundless.org about his journey that led him to his faith.
“In 2009, I was left flat on my face in a deep depression, where I could do nothing else but reach out for help.”
Boudia went on to add: “That was when God intervened and brought my coach, Adam Soldati, into my life to be His hands and feet. He shared the Gospel with me, and I found new hope in it. A few weeks later, after investigation and God slowly working in me, I gave my life to Jesus.”
Boudia chronicles his struggles with depression and everyday life in his book, Greater than Gold, which is due out Tuesday.
3. Boudia hopes to follow in Greg Louganis’ footsteps.
At the 2012 Olympics in London, Boudia became the first American diver to win gold since the 2000 Olympics when he won gold in the 10m platform event. At the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, Boudia plans to repeat as Olympic champ, which would put him in the same category as American diving great Greg Louganis. Louganis, who won gold in 1984 and 1988, was the last American man to win gold on the 10m in consecutive Olympic Games. Boudia discussed his goals while talking to amNewYork on July 27.
“I want to go into this Olympics and put together the best six dives that I’ve ever done. Hopefully at the end of that competition, we will hear our national anthem play.”
4. Boudia joined the national team just five years after he began diving.
Though his Olympic dreams began when he was seven-years-old, David didn’t begin diving until he was 11. As a youngster, he also played soccer and did gymnastics until he opted to stick with diving full-time.
That was in 2000, and by 2005, the then-16-year-old had joined the ranks of the U.S. national diving team. That year, he won a national championship in the synchronized diving event, according to his website.
— Purdue Athletics (@PurdueSports) August 2, 2016
5. Boudia’s family has grown since the 2012 Olympics.
Since leaving the London Olympics in 2012, David married his college sweetheart, Sonnie. The couple, who met at Purdue, were married in October of 2012, and in October of 2014 the couple welcomed their daughter, Dakoda. Boudia told NBC Olympics that being a father has made training for the Olympics more difficult — but more rewarding.
“Having a daughter after the 2012 Olympics has made training so much different because once my first job (diving) ends, my other job (being a dad and husbands) begins. It is non-stop work without much rest but totally worth it and has made this journey to 2016 so much better — but at the same time harder.”
Will you tune in to watch David Boudia go after his second Olympic gold medal?
[Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images Sport]