Steele Johnson and David Boudia came to Rio to compete as a synchronized diving pair, so in competition, they share a diving platform.
But they share something else that they say makes their partnership stronger, win or lose: their faith.
Both Boudia and Johnson list “Christ-follower” in their Twitter bios. And on Monday evening, after flipping and twisting their way to a silver medal, they gave an interview that drew cheers from many at home:
— 🇺🇸 Vote_Straight_Rs 🇺🇸 (@Houston_53) August 9, 2016
“When my mind is on this and I’m thinking I’m defined by this, my mind goes crazy, but we both know that our identities are in Christ.”
And Johnson agreed:
“Knowing that my identity is rooted in Christ and not in the competition, whatever the result might be, I can just enjoy the experience.”
America was inspired. 2003 Miss America Erika Harold commented:
— Erika Harold (@ErikaHarold) August 9, 2016
And she wasn’t alone:
— David Blough (@david_blough10) August 9, 2016
@Steele_Johnson congratulations to you both! Thank you for reminding us of our identity in Christ. PTL
— Benjamin Watson (@BenjaminSWatson) August 9, 2016
— Heidi Robidou (@Rubeedue) August 9, 2016
And others noticed something inspiring about the entire team:
Both Boudia and Steele faced a long journey to Rio.
New father Boudia missed his family so much that he took a day off training just three days ahead of the competition for some face-to-face time with his daughter:
And Johnson spent the last seven years perfecting the dive that nearly cost him his life. When he was twelve, he was doing a three-and-a-half somersault and hit his head on the diving board:
“It’s crazy to think that this dive went from something that almost killed me to being my favorite thing to practice. When I’m up on the 10-meter, I’m not thinking about the time I hit my head, I’m thinking about how much I enjoy diving.
The cool part of the story is, something that almost killed me has become the thing that I’m best at.”
Johnson only recently disclosed that he’s experienced memory loss from that horrific accident in 2009. Watch the 19-year-old’s account of the diving accident that nearly killed him:
Boudia, whom Johnson describes as a mentor, is not finished with Rio yet. He is also scheduled to compete in the individual 10-meter platform event on August 19th.