Olympic diver David Boudia will make his third Olympics appearance in 2016. He has teamed up with Uncrustables to find out what makes people unstoppable. For him, it’s his family. As part of the Unstoppable campaign, he shared some stories from his career and talked about how he feels heading into Rio.
How did you first get into diving?
When I was 7, I wanted to be an Olympian. I was looking for some sort of sport where I could do that. A few years later I found this sport called diving that I’d never heard of before, and I started getting good fairly quickly. It fit perfectly because I was a gymnast, so I could kind of have that same flipping and twisting feeling but I got to land on water on my head instead of on a mat.
So your Olympic dream started before you ever started diving?
Yeah, I think a lot of it had to do with me being in gymnastics at that time and that’s like the biggest thing you can do as a gymnast. So that’s kind of what sparked the dream. My family and I loved to watch the Olympic Games, so I remember watching the ‘96 games and trying to do what they were doing on TV in my living room. I just loved everything about it.
Can you talk about your 2008 Olympic experience and how you overcame the heartbreak of not winning?
I would never want to walk through it again, but I’m thankful that the heartbreak that did happen at those Games happened because it helped build and shape me to who I was in 2012 and who I am going into ’16. The struggles that go into not reaching your goals… I think it helps make you stronger. So going into 2012, just being able to experience what I did, I think it helped translate into accomplishing winning the Olympics in London.
What’s your mindset for Rio?
I want to go back and win my gold. If you were to ask my wife, I have the annoying, competitive drive to have to win at a card game. So that’s no different when it comes to the Olympics. I want to go into Rio and obviously win the Olympics again. But ultimately I have no control over that because of what my competitors are going to do or what the judges will give me. What I do have control of is taking it one dive at a time. At the end of the six dives if I’ve done the best six dives I’ve ever done, whether I come up with the gold or come up short, I’ll be content.
Do you expect to have any nerves?
I hope there are nerves and butterflies because that means the competition actually is coming near. I think sometimes those nerves are healthy if you know how to make those butterflies fly in formation. Because I’ve been able to go to a couple different Olympics, I’ve learned how to do that and I think those nerves get me excited, they get me into my zone where I can compete and have that tunnel vision.
What advice would you give to young athletes about overcoming failure?
I would tell them you should have those huge goals that you want to accomplish. But more importantly I would encourage them to set smaller, more achievable, immediate goals. Whether that’s going to practice and working harder than you did the day before… If you can say, “I did that” and check it off, then by the end of this road you can see all of the goals that you’ve already accomplished and it gives you some encouragement. It’s really just taking it one step at a time instead of being consumed with all of it at once.
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