On Saturday David Boudia jumped off the 10-meter platform at the Aquatics Center in London and twisted and flipped his way to an Olympic gold medal, the first U.S. gold in men's diving since 1992.
Friends and family crowded around Boudia as Olympic officials announced his final winning score. The 23-year-old from Noblesville, Ind., and Purdue University had barely made it into the finals-finishing 18th in preliminaries-but he somehow rose to the occasion in the end, beating out expected winner Qui Bo of China and crowd favorite Tom Daley of Great Britain. Once the scores were tallied, the camera panned to a disappointed Qui leaning against the wall behind the diving board.
In contrast, Boudia had expressed before the finals that he would be content regardless of the outcome. In an interview with NBC following his disappointing preliminary dives, Boudia said, "The coolest thing about this is that I know God is perfect and sovereign. And if I made it, great, if I didn't, great. So I was totally content if I was on the bubble or out."
Boudia grew up in the church but spent most of his energy focused on diving, using God "like an accessory in my life," he said in a testimony posted on the Beyond the Ultimate website. His hard work paid off when he was selected to the U.S. Olympic diving team at age 19, competing in the 10-meter platform individual and synchronized events at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Boudia said at the time he was competing for "me, my glory, and money," yet he admitted he still wasn't satisfied.
"Throughout the journey through 2008, I was chasing after so many things that never lasted," Boudia told the Baptist Press. "At the end of the Olympic Games in 2008, I walked away and I looked around, and I was like, 'All right, was that it?'"
He started his freshman year at Purdue and soon got caught up in the party scene. Boudia remembers feeling hopeless and depressed. A teammate suggested he speak to his coach, Adam Soldati, who shared the gospel with him one night.
Through continued discussions with Soldati about the Bible and from reading it himself, Boudia said Christianity became clear to him. "I saw how sinful I was and how much I needed God to redeem me," he said. "I devoted my life right there to Christ and asked for forgiveness."
Since then, his attitude toward competing has changed, and he has focused less on himself and his performance and more on others.
"I have full contentment and faith that God is totally sovereign, and no matter how I write my own plan, He's going to do what's best for me to make me more like Christ," Boudia said. "No matter how I do in my sport, I know it's perfect because of the promises and hope He has given me."