Doubling Up: Boudia keeps chase of 2nd gold in perspective - Sports Illustrated

Doubling Up: Boudia keeps chase of 2nd gold in perspective

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) David Boudia could spend this summer doubling up on the diving world.

He hopes to expand his Olympic medal collection from two to four, wants to come home from Rio with two golds instead of one and could become the first American male diver since Greg Louganis to complete the rare feat of winning the 10-meter title in consecutive Olympiads.

He's still not satisfied.

''Once you get that taste of winning, you want more of it,'' Boudia said during the U.S. Olympic diving trials, which end Sunday in Indianapolis. ''It's no different now. I want to go to Rio to win it.''

Another victory would put Boudia on a short list of great American divers, only three of whom have won back-to-back golds on the concrete platform - Louganis in 1984 and 1988, Samuel Lee in in 1948 and 1952 and Bob Webster in 1960 and 1964.

Yes, Boudia has thought about the significance of such an accomplishment. But the devotedly religious Boudia knows there's still a lot of work to do.

First, he must earn one of the two available spots on the Olympic team, no certainty given what happened Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Steele Johnson, Boudia's synchro partner, took the lead after prelims and traded leads with Boudia throughout the 10-meter semifinals. Eventually, Boudia's experience and patience paid dividends and he finished the night with a 45.45-point lead over Johnson, who is just 7.9 points ahead of David Dinsmore.

Those who have watched Boudia go from emerging star to Olympic champ are not surprised that he excelled when the pressure was cranked up.

''It's a matter of reps,'' coach Adam Soldati said. ''Sometimes you just reach a point where you've put that many reps on your body and it takes a toll. But I keep telling him he's in his prime.''

Boudia certainly has not shown any indication of slippage yet.

He has made every U.S. national team since 2005, captured his 20th national title in December and finished second at the world championships in 2013 and 2015. On Thursday, Boudia qualified for his third straight Olympic team by teaming with Johnson to win the synchro 10-meter event by an astounding 238.02 points. It's the first time Johnson, who attends Purdue - Boudia's alma mater - will compete in the Olympics.

But Boudia's third Olympic appearance will be very different.

His book ''Greater Than Gold: From Olympic Heartbreak to Ultimate Redemption'' is scheduled to be released Aug. 2.

And in the four years since he last competed at that stage, Boudia has gotten married, starred on television and welcomed a child. His wife, Sonnie, will travel to Brazil while his toddler daughter, Dakoda, will not. Boudia said there has been no talk of retirement yet. The Zika virus fears, however, have prompted the Boudias to put their family expansion plans on hold.

''We know the local Olympic committee and the International Olympic Committee are keeping things as safe as they can,'' Boudia said. ''But my wife and I have decided not to have another child at this time.''

The other big change is that even though Boudia has captured the hearts and minds of the American diving community, the rest of the world seems to think China's Qui Bo, Britain's Tom Daley or Mexico's Ivan Garcia will dethrone the defending Olympic champ.

Don't discount him, though.

Boudia says he's in the best shape of his life and is diving far better now than at December's U.S. winter nationals or February's World Cup in Rio.

What's changed?

''I was getting back into training mode the last half of (last) year. The international competition at the beginning of this year didn't go as well as I wanted it to,'' Boudia said. ''It's just getting all those little details down.''

And the legions of divers in the Boudia fan club have been impressed.

As the 27-year-old Texan walked around the pool deck Tuesday night, his pleasant demeanor and fierce intensity commanded both respect and admiration from the other divers, many of whom reacted to Boudia's nearly flawless dives like awe-struck fans who wished they could be that close to perfection.

If Boudia can keep it up another two months, he just might be seeing double in Rio.

''Going to Rio as the reigning Olympic champion puts that thought in the back of your mind,'' Boudia said. ''But I actually feel less pressure this time.''