David Boudia and Steele Johnson secured their berth in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with a dominant performance in synchronized men’s synchronized 10-meter platform platform diving Thursday evening at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Diving at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis.
The duo emerged from Tuesday’s semifinal round with 835.56 points, 124.98 ahead of the closest competition. They continued to pad that lead throughout Thursday evening, ending up with 1,326.57 points, 238.02 ahead of Ryan Hawkins and Toby Stanley.
Boudia won the bronze medal with then-partner Nick McCrory at the London 2012 Olympic Games. When McCrory retired after London to pursue medical school studies, Boudia and Johnson joined forces and have shown they have every intention to log a podium finish in Rio. Their first international competition together, the 2014 World Cup, resulted in a bronze medal. They have been rolling ever since, racking up a total of six top-five finishes, including a silver and two bronze medals in World Cup and World Series competition and a fifth-place finish at the 2015 world championships.
Making his third trip to the Olympic Games, Boudia, 27, placed fifth in synchronized platform at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games with Thomas Finchum before his bronze-medal result in London. He is the reigning gold medalist in individual platform after placing sixth in Beijing. With an individual silver medal at the last three world championships, Boudia is the first American to medal at three consecutive worlds since Greg Louganis. He has won 20 national championships and was named USA Diving Athlete of the Year six times. He won six NCAA titles diving for Purdue University, where he received a communications degree in 2013. Since winning his two medals in London, Boudia has added even better prizes: He married his wife Sonnie in October 2012 and welcomed their first child, a daughter named Dakoda, in September 2014.
Johnson, who turned 20 a week ago, will make his Olympic debut in Rio. A seven-time national team member, he is a 10-time national champion. The 2015 NCAA platform and 1-meter champion as a freshman at Purdue, he took an Olympic practice waiver for the 2015-16 season to focus on training for Rio.
The partners find themselves in the curious position of battling each other for first place in the individual platform competition at Olympic Trials. Boudia leads the field going into the finals with 1,007.25 points, 45.45 ahead of Johnson’s 961.80. David Dinsmore is in third place with 953.90, followed by a 186-point drop to Zachary Cooper in fourth place. The top two athletes will earn a spot on the Olympic team. The finals in men’s individual platform will take place Sunday evening.
Boudia and Johnson are the fifth and sixth members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Diving Team, joining women’s synchronized platform divers Jessica Parrotto and Amy Cozad, and men’s synchronized springboard divers Sam Dorman and Michael Hixon, who earned their spots Wednesday evening.