By Steele Johnson, 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist Diver | Aug. 10, 2019, 9:05 p.m. (ET)

 

Steele Johnson is a six-time individual and eight-time synchro U.S. champion diver at the senior level. At the Olympic Games Rio 2016, Johnson earned silver at his Olympic debut in 10-meter synchro with partner David Boudia. Making his Pan American Games debut in Lima, Peru, Johnson is chronicling his journey on TeamUSA.org and @TeamUSA social media channels.

 

The Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, were a new experience for me. In 2016, I had the opportunity to represent Team USA at the Olympic Games in Rio, and I was honored to leave there with a silver medal around my neck. Even though I have been to an Olympics, the Pan American Games are an entirely new and exciting experience. Some things are similar, but a lot is different!

Living in a village is one of the most exciting parts of any Games for me. Staying in a small complex with thousands of the world’s best athletes always leaves me inspired. Here in Lima, the village has been great! While the rooms might be smaller than I’d like, they are really just a space for me to rest my head in between training sessions. Team USA always does a great job providing space for their athletes to recovery, hang out and eat good snacks. So far I have spent the majority of my time in the “ARC” – athlete resource center – getting to know other athletes and eating a healthy amount of peanut butter. 

Speaking of snacks, I love the dining court! The first stop I made when I arrived to athlete village was the dining court at 2 a.m. Having access to a wide array of food at all hours of the day has been very helpful in my training leading up to the competition. Ultimately, I am here to represent my country, and the athlete village has been more than accommodating in that process. Living in the village has truly made me feel at home, which helped me remain in peak shape for the competitions!

One of the most valuable things I took away from my time at the Olympics in Rio was the friendships I made with other athletes in the village. Being in Lima, I feel as though this too will be something valuable I take away from this trip. Spending time getting to know other athletes in other sports not only builds lasting friendships, but it allows me to feel like I am cheering on my friends as they compete for a place on the podium in their respective sports. Before this competition, I did not know any athletes in sports like rhythmic gymnastics or handball, but now I get the privilege of cheering on my friends in those sports!

Lima has been an incredible host for such an amazing event, and I am honored to be here representing the best team in the world. Being surrounded by 600-plus of the best Team USA athletes is inspiring, and I’m proud to be a part of this group of athletes. Go Team USA!