David Boudia shares stories of faith, future plans to train for Tokyo

David Boudia talks with WTHR after speaking at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Indianapolis Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. (WTHR Photo/Clint Erbacher)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Olympic gold medalist and Purdue alum David Boudia is already looking ahead to Tokyo in 2020. His preparation involves more than just reps in the swimming pool. He's also training his spirit and his heart and hopes to inspire others with his message.

We've seen a lot from David in the last few years - clean, crisp dives and then bright smiles for the crowd after a world-class effort. But underneath all that, David says there's a lot we haven't seen.

"My failed pursuit of Olympic glory had me feeling abandoned and alone," David said. "I felt betrayed. I felt rejected and defeated by the god I tried to create and sacrifice everything to appease."

That's a struggle David says he wrestled with, fighting depression and suicidal thoughts. On Sunday morning, he shared stories with the congregation at St. Luke's United Methodist Church about how he found his light.

"While I do love diving, it's not my highest priority," said David. "As a Christian, my two guiding principles of my life are love God and to love others."

People lined up after the service to get the chance to meet David and get a copy of his book. He told us he's not only found a new direction spiritually, but he's also taking a different approach to training physically.

"Now that I'm 29, they say your prime for diving is 23, so when I was younger I was training 7 hours a day," said David. "Now I'm training 4-5 hours a day, so it just looks different."

David faced one of the biggest obstacles in his career just a few months ago.

"Back in February, I suffered a concussion from smacking off of a 10M platform," David said. "It took me out of competition this year, but I took about 8 weeks off to recover and it was a good shakeup."

David said it was good because it helps put things in perspective.

"I leave the pool and that's one job done," David said. "Then I go home and my wife hands me the baby because she's been there all day. It's just different. I wouldn't change it. I love having two little girls beside me on this journey and a wife that's supportive. I'm an elite athlete, but I also put my shoes on one foot at a time and I have to brush my teeth and so everything translates over to good quality character life skills."

As he looks to the future, David has a few words of advice for people trying to take care of something physical, spiritual or anything in between.

"We look at life and we get overwhelmed by everything we have to accomplish and do," David said. "One of the things that's helped me is to do baby steps. Take it one step at a time because tomorrow's not promised and yesterday's already done. Just look at what's in front of you, one step at a time."

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