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Boudia returns to Purdue after Olympic glory

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It’s been a whirl wind past few days for David Boudia.

Saturday, the former Purdue diver captured gold at the London Olympics.  That was followed by a blitz of media interviews there and then traveling back to the United States for some more Q and A with the New York media. 

But, as WBAA’s Sam Klemet reports, finally, Boudia is able to take a slight breath being back home.

Even with two medals dangling from his neck, it still hasn’t really sunk in for David Boudia that he is an Olympic champion.

"Ones gold, one's bronze 'is this happening,'" he pondered.  "You have expectations going in but, I never would have dreamed to walk out with two medals.”

He won bronze in the ten meter synchronized event with his partner Nick McCrory then ended his time in London atop the podium as the gold medalist of the individual ten meter platform.

"That's what you dream of, middle of the podium, with the national anthem playing,” he said.

Thursday, he returned to the place where he says he transformed into an Olympic champion – the Purdue Aquatic Center.

There were no shortages of hugs or handshakes as Boudia came back to campus.  He says that’s what makes the experience special, being able to share his success, and even his medals, with friends and well-wishers.

“This is the cool thing.  If you just keep it to yourself it's no fun," he said. "When I get to places I just give (the medals) to somebody and that's cool that they can have it and I like to share the wealth.”

Purdue sophomore Glen Hoyer was one of the lucky ones who got to snap a picture with the Olympic champion and hold Boudia’s gold medal.

"It's awesome," he said beaming.  "That guy goes to the same school I do.  I'm speechless."

Boudia so readily shares his Olympic success with others, because it was others such as his coach, family, and school who guided him along the journey.

"It just wasn't me on that podium," he said.  "It was the hard work of (coach) Adam (Soldati), my family, my friends, and my fiance.  And Purdue has been such a support system to my past three years here and it's incredible to share that with them too."

Four years ago, Boudia failed to medal in either of his two diving events at the Olympics in Beijing.

This time around was a completely different story.

About two weeks after winning bronze, he became the first American male diver to win gold in the games in 24-years.

Boudia captured the top spot in the men’s individual ten meter platform with his highest scoring and most memorable dive coming on the final one of the competition.

Yet, for him, that moment is still somewhat a blur.

"It was surreal thinking back to it.  It was almost like I wasn't diving," he recalls.  "I remember swinging arms before take off and then getting out of the pool.  It's kind of bizarre to think I don't remember doing three flips and then diving in, but that's exactly what 'athletic zone' means."

But, Boudia’s quest for gold almost didn’t happen.  He was the final diver to qualify for the semifinals in the event after a poor preliminary performance.

He says in some ways, struggling early, made the rest of the competition more manageable.

"The poor preliminary night transferred into a great next day," he said  "It's crazy when you change your perspective the next day, taking it one day at a time, and the results...I was on the top of the podium."

And when he first realized he had in fact won…

"As soon as I saw my name on the top, I couldn't really fathom what was going on," he said. 

"When I first glanced at the scoreboard after the Chinese diver Qiu Bo went, I thought my name was in second so I was like 'ok, sweet, silver, that's cool.'  Then I looked again and I was like 'wait, WHAT?'  This is a wild, wild dream."

Boudia’s journey didn’t end atop the podium in London.  He still has plenty left on his plate. He is getting married in October, plans to take several credits this semester as he looks to finish his degree at Purdue in communications, and hopefully catch up on some sleep.

Because not only does he plan to go for gold in diving again in four years in Rio De Janeiro, but Boudia is seriously considering pursuing Olympic success in another sport, as well.

"This could be a way outside shot, but I'm a big dreamer.  Dreaming is not a bad thing. Now that I have four months off from diving, I am going to give a shot at gymnastics, just the vaulting" he said. "I did gymnastics before diving.

And when you see the two medals hanging from Boudia’s neck, representative of his commitment and journey, you figure, why can’t he accomplish anything he puts his mind to?

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