Olympic diver David Boudia was once terrified of the 10-meter diving platform. That, of course, was before he won the gold medal for the 10-meter dive at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
But David Boudia says there’s something “more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold.” And he found that out two years before making diving history in 2012, with the help of his coach, Adam Soldati.
It was David’s sophomore year at Purdue University, and he had already made a trip to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. David was on the way up to the height of his athletic career, having already become an Olympian by the time he was 21. Life was good. Except when it wasn’t, which was most of the time.
“Living for David’s fame and David’s pleasure was one of my biggest problems in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was the cause of my deepest moments of despair,” David told Faith Ministries.
For those of us who haven’t made it to The Olympics—which is most of us—it seems nearly impossible to be stuck in depression with those kinds of accomplishments. But, as David Boudia tells it, it is. And it’s nearly debilitating—even for an Olympic athlete.
“The lifestyle became so depressing that I desperately needed something else to live for. I was longing for some type of purpose,” said David.
David Boudia’s coach, Adam Soldati, and his wife Kimiko, played an instrumental role in David’s story beyond helping him perfect his diving for The Olympics. They shared the Gospel with David, something he had never known before, though he grew up in the Catholic church. David says Adam and Kimiko poured into his life during this time of distress and disorientation and showed him there is more to life than the Olympics. More to life than David Boudia.
“Through Adam’s faith friendship in ministering the Word to me, I came to know Christ,” said David. “I began to realize from the Word of God that my purpose in life as God’s child was to live for Him and others—not myself.”
David didn’t know Adam was a Christian, he said in an interview with Beliefnet.com. Adam was just someone he looked up to, and he didn’t even know why. Adam’s friendship made David feel comfortable enough to ask him the tough questions. And as a result, David found life beyond diving, beyond the gold medal, beyond the Olympics.
David, no longer terrified of the 10-meter platform, returns to the diving platform in this year’s Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with Steele Johnson, his partner in synchronized diving, who is also a Christian. But for Boudia and Johnson, the Olympic platform is for more than just diving. It’s for sharing their story—the story of how Jesus, not the Olympics, gives them purpose.
But, while they’re at it, they wouldn’t mind a medal, either.
Update: Boudia and Johnson won a silver medal in the men’s synchronized 10-meter platform on Monday, August 8. It was the highest the United States has ever placed in the event, Steele Johnson’s debut Olympic medal, and the third Olympic Medal for David Boudia, reports NBC.