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What does it take to represent your country in athletics on the world stage? Most will claim that it takes dedication, and a lot of time, but those aren’t the only ingredients to becoming a world class athlete.
Millions of kids grow up dreaming of having the gold medal placed around them as the National Anthem plays, but very few ever get to experience that. For American divers Steel Johnson, and David Boudia, that dream has become a real possibility.
While making the Olympic team is a huge achievement, Steele shocked the reporter with a revelation that very few athletes have:
“I’ve been working for this dream for a long time. I honestly never thought the day would come, and I just blinked, and now I’m on the 2016 Olympic team… It’s cool because this is exciting, this is fun, but it’s not what my identity is going to be the rest of my life.”
Mind you, this was minutes after being named to Team U.S.A., and yet Johnson knows that he is destined for things far greater than athletic achievement. What he said next absolutely blew me away:
“Yeah, I’m Steele Johnson the Olympian, but at the same time I’m here to love and serve Christ. My identity is rooted in Christ.”
You can watch this incredible interview below:
It was then that the interviewer turned quickly to Johnson’s diving partner and two-time Olympian, gold medalist David Boudia who won the Gold in the 2012 games in London for his 10m platform. It looks like she was expecting to hear something different from Boudia, but instead he publicly professed his faith just as strongly as Johnson.
“Right before I went up for this last dive, emotions just kind of poured in,” said Boudia. “And it wasn’t like the last two teams that I’ve made because this guy has come a long way. We can’t take credit for this… To God be the glory, which is why we do what we do day in and day out.”
Johnson may be coming to his games for the first time, but Boudia has been twice before and knows the ropes. But that isn’t keeping him from making his relationship with Jesus the center of the platform of his Olympic journey. Boudia became a Christian in 2010 through the influence of his college diving coach Adam Soldati and openly referenced his faith before, during, and after the 2012 Olympics. In 2012, Boudia married Sonnie Brand, whom he met while studying at Purdue University and two years later they welcomed their first child, Dakoda.
After winning and qualifying for the U.S.A. Olympic team, Boudia had a few choice words to say:
“We’re just so thankful and there are so many sacrifices that have been made by our coaches, my wife, family… so many. But nothing compares to the sacrifice that we’ve had in eternity.”
With the Olympics in Rio set to take place in a little over a month, fans have some time to get familiar with the athletes representing our country. Clearly, Steele Johnson and David Boudia are characters worth following during these games. Whether or not they win medals is beside the point. They knows their true job is to spread the love of Christ. Fortunately, both men have a huge platform this summer in which people can see God shine through them.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” -Matthew 5:16
Let’s share Steele and David’s story! Our identity does not come from what we do, or personal accomplishments, but rather from the Heavenly Father. Thank you, Steele Johnson and David Boudia, for reminding us that no matter what, at the end of the day, it is Christ that matters most. Go U.S.A.!