This year ABC aired a new reality show about diving called “Splash!” The show featured celebrities doing harder and harder dives from the springboard and platform each week. Some of the dives were really hard and there were many painful belly flops! The coach for the show was Greg Louganis, the greatest diver ever. And one of the judges was David Boudia, a gold medal-winner at the 2012 London Olympics.
I am very lucky that my mom was an Olympic Diver and was a teammate of Greg’s in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. We are also friends with David and saw him make the team at the Olympic Trials in Seattle last spring. My mom took me to California to watch the final episode of “Splash!” and I got to interview both Greg and David on the set of the show. I got to sit by the championship trophy and David even let me wear his gold medal for the interview! WOW!
Both divers have had incredible successes, terrific coaches and mentors, but also difficult times. Greg and David credit their coaches with teaching them not only diving skills but life skills as well. David even commented on how his college coach helped him learn to be a man. So I learned that to reach the top, it is super important to have great supporters. It can be your parents, coaches, or other mentors. But you can’t reach the top by yourself!
Both divers also have lots of interests. Greg grew up acting and dancing, he raises and shows dogs, and also teaches diving and life skills. David played lots of sports including soccer, gymnastics, and baseball. After seeing the Olympics on TV when he was 7, he had the dream of making it and added diving and other Olympic sports. While both stars enjoy playing video games, they both stress doing it in balance with their sports.
It wasn’t all fun and games though. Both divers were bullied as kids and now both teach students to be aware of bullies and how to stand up to them. Greg was dyslexic as a kid and didn’t figure it out until college. The other kids called him names like “retard” and “moron” and would beat him up almost every day. What made him the saddest was that the kids watching wouldn’t do anything to help. David was made fun of and bullied by his friends because they didn’t consider diving in a little swimsuit to be macho like football. Both stars stressed how important it is to believe in yourself. The best way to show them up is to win!
Being at the show “Splash!” was one of my favorite experiences. I got to hang out with Greg and David who are both really cool guys. The show was fun to watch and I enjoyed being in California. Plus wearing David’s gold medal makes me want to go earn one myself!