One of the big stories of the 2012 Olympics will be the Gold Medal earned by 23 year old underdog Platform Diver David Boudia. Less than 48 hours after his Gold Medal winning performance, David stopped by the SiriusXM studios to talk with Ron Bennington about the experience in London and his spiritual beliefs about who was responsible for the win. Excerpts of the interview appear below.
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Ron Bennington: Congratulations. How does it feel. You come in with the two medals…has it sunk in yet? It’s been, what, not even twenty-four hours yet?
David Boudia: Thank you very very much. Saturday night was when this happened and now I’m in New York City. This has been a whirlwind adventure.
Ron Bennington: When you won the platform, they were actually talking about you being in the zone. But there was no fear or pressure in your eyes, whatsoever. Are you normally like that when you dive?
David Boudia: No I think this was a really….special zone. You hear about athletes talk about the zone. It’s crazy, I don’t even remember…. I remember swinging my arms and then swimming to the side and getting out of the pool but I don’t remember flipping off a thirty foot platform and doing three flips, it’s insane.
Ron Bennington: Now something came together, where that was your time for whatever reason. Because you worked for many years to get to that point. But to find yourself in a zone, at a point when you should have felt the most pressure in your life– except for, you weren’t feeling much at all.
David Boudia: The day before, I barely made the semifinals to qualify. I was right on the bubble, eighteenth position. And twenty-four hours later I went from eighteenth to first. And I would never have written that plan to be eighteenth and have it come back to first. It’s crazy. Total contentment.
Ron Bennington: And you don’t know why it happened to you and you don’t know what kicked in?
David Boudia: You know, I woke up the next morning after placing eighteenth and I just had peace, perspective of what I was doing there, why I was doing it. God was totally sovereign throughout that event.
Ron Bennington: You really believe that. You felt like it’s a spiritual connection.
David Boudia: Totally one hundred percent. I was walking up the ten meter, so I was walking up those sixty or something steps. And I was just like, alright, this is already written. My faith is the most important thing to me. So I think that was a huge way for me to have that peace.
Ron Bennington: Has that worked for you at other points though?
David Boudia: No, this was a big growing experience. This was totally different from any other competition. It was seriously so surreal. It felt like it wasn’t even real.
Ron Bennington: I don’t know whether you went back and watched what they were saying about you but they were saying, he doesn’t seem to be connecting to anything around him. And you work with music as well, right…
David Boudia: …constantly in my ear…
Ron Bennington: …but even in between those dives, we would look over at you, and were like, where’s the pressure?
David Boudia: You would think! You’re at an Olympic final. The last event of your Olympic journey. You’d think there would be this tremendous amount of pressure. But right before me was the hometown favorite, Tom Daly.
Ron Bennington: Not only is he the hometown favorite, and they love him there in England, but he’s about the hottest thing going on, even on American tv. He was getting more time than our guys.
David Boudia: Yeah, the dude has so much celeb status at the Olympic games, so the more pressure was on him, more pressure on Chinese. I was kind of way underdog. This was like 1980 Olympics miracle story all over again but in the diving arena.
Ron Bennington: Oh yeah. I was saying, if this kid can medal, that’s just phenomenal, and that was what I was pulling for. But then it was dive after dive, and then before you took that last one, we’re like– he could do this! And then you just walked up there and nailed it, man.
David Boudia: One of the craziest thing about this final was– I had no idea where I was placed throughout the competition. I didn’t look at whether I was in first or second or third or last place. I just looked at what my scores were. And so I had no idea that I was three-way tied pretty much with the Chinese and Tom Daly from Great Britain. So I think that had a lot to do with it. Had I known, it might have changed.
Ron Bennington: But you honestly think that there was something outside of yourself, some reason for you to have been there. Your faith takes you that far.
David Boudia: Totally. I believe that God is completely sovereign over this. That, the story is already written. Whether I have the worries on it, or whether I truly believe that he’s sovereign over it is a different thing. But I totally believe that it was Him who wanted this to happen to glorify His name. And bringing the platform unto Himself.
Ron Bennington: You were relaxed but then there’s also the muscle memory. Cause you’ve been training–how long to get to this point?
David Boudia: It’s just like anything in life. Repetition repetition, you get better and better and better. I’ve been diving for 12 years now, since 2000, and, you know I’ve done these dives for five six years at a time and they’re still not perfect. I look back at the Olympic games and I can still do dives even better than that. But, consistency was key with everything and it was a total radical moment.
Ron Bennington: It’s a stunning achievement. Even if we look at, let’s say winning the Super Bowl. You get a shot at that every year. You only get a couple of days that you could have felt exactly the way you did– in your entirely life– and you were there for it.
David Boudia: You train your entire life for six dives. Six dives last what, twenty seconds? So I’ve spent twelve years for twenty seconds. And people always want to know what goes on when on the podium. What goes through your mind on the podium. Just standing on the podium– hearing the national anthem play– memories flooded back. How much support was there. How it wasn’t just me who got myself there. It was the support of my family, my fiancé, my friends, sponsors like TD Ameritrade. Crazy emotional.
Ron Bennington: What do they do for you? When you say you have a sponsor like that. Because, not a lot of us know what goes in to this.
David Boudia: Olympic athletes aren’t funded by government like the rest of the world. So we have to find sponsorships, we’ve got to get agents to pay the bills. So TD Ameritrade allows Olympic athletes to train with ease– not have to worry about how they’re going to provide the next day. I was actually over in Jersey City and I was welcomed by 200 people who were just cheering their heads off from TD Ameritrade.
Ron Bennington: Now what do you do now? Do you look at Rio?
David Boudia: Yeah absolutely. This is by far way more than I expected to do at the Olympic games. A gold and a bronze with synchro partner Nick McCrory. I’m going to get married in October. I’m going to take a four month break and then just reevaluate with my coach Adam Soldati, and see where that takes me. But Rio is definitely in sight.
Ron Bennington: Well you are now the face of diving. For years we had famous divers in this country that we could talk about, and then the Chinese came on and did these acrobatics, and we were like, well this sport has kind of passed us by and then boom, out of nowhere, you pop into this.
David Boudia: I think the Chinese are still scratching their heads at what happened that night and the last event. But this is cool, what an opportunity. You know Greg Louganis was– 1980s– huge diving Olympic legend. And so, to be alongside of Greg Louganis, to have my name in the history books alongside his name– is huge.
Ron Bennington: It’s an amazing story. We were all pulling for you. Thank you so much and best of luck with everything you’re going to be doing.
You can hear this interview in its entirety exclusively on SiriusXM satellite radio. Not yet a subscriber? Click here for a free trial subscription.
You can learn more about Ron Bennington’s two interview shows, Unmasked and Ron Bennington Interviews at RonBenningtonInterviews.com.