|David Boudia celebrates with his coach, Adam Soldati, after winning
the men's 10-meter platform diving final at the London 2012 Olympic
Games at the Aquatics Centre on Aug. 11, 2012 in London.
One year ago today, the odds stacked up against me. With approximately 7 billion people in the world, only 10,500 of those compete at the Olympic Games. The odds of making the Olympic Games from the world perspective is about one in every 700,000. The odds of becoming an Olympic champion in London 2012? Well, out of 302 Olympic gold medals up for grabs in 26 different sports … 22 million to 1.
One year ago today, I stood in front of millions, anticipating a dream in hopes of it becoming a reality. The stage was set and it could not have been any more intense. The night before the qualifying round of the 10-meter platform diving competition, I was ranked second in the world going into the preliminary event and ended up in unexpected 18th place, just capturing the last spot to compete in the semifinal. I made it into the finals, and the contest to determine the Olympic champion turned into a battle never seen before in the sport of diving. The field featured current world champion Qiu Bo of China and the focal point of the host country, Tom Daley. After five of six rounds, we went into the final round with only .15 points separating us for our dream. The pressure of the final round is what we have all been training for our entire lives, and it came down to drops of water. With Daley hitting an almost perfect dive, my job would not be easy. Before taking off from the platform on the final dive, I could not have had more peace about the outcome. After turning around on the platform, my mind shut off and I let my body take over from there. My feet came off the platform and the next thing I remember is getting out of the water, running to my coach. I had overtaken Daley and now awaited the dominant Chinese diver to enter the water. The result of the competition was complete with an overwhelming victory for the United States.
One year ago today, my dream became reality as I stepped up on the middle podium to receive the gold medal for the United States. By God’s sweet grace, I was able to be part of a journey where the outcome ultimately did not matter. Becoming the Olympic champion was just the icing on the cake. To me, one year ago today represents not just what the Olympic Games are about, but what life is about — a battle. The Olympic Creed reads, "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well." This is precisely what one year ago today means to me. The emotions and pursuit of becoming an Olympic champion comes down to one simple, but deeply rooted word: journey. An Olympic champion never achieves this 22 million-to-1 odds without having the right perspective towards his or her dreams. The journey of the Olympic Games far outweighs the outcome of the competition because without the journey, the title “Olympic champion” does not have true meaning.
David Boudia is a diver who finished 10th in the men's individual 10-meter platform event and fifth with Thomas Finchum in the 10-meter synchro event in his Olympic debut at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. In 2011, Boudia earned individual silver at the FINA World Championships, becoming the first American man to medal in the event since Greg Louganis did so in 1986. At the London 2012 Olympic Games, Boudia continued to make history by earning bronze in 10-meter synchronized diving with partner Nick McCrory, which marked Team USA's first ever medal in the event, as well as individual gold in 10-meter, the first Olympic gold medal by a U.S. man in the event since Louganis in 1988.