August 8, 2008

Catholic News Around Indiana: Diocese of Lafayette

Our Lady of Grace teenager to compete in diving at Beijing Olympics

By Kevin Cullen (The Catholic Moment)

David Boudia (Photo from U.S. Olympic Committee Web site)NOBLESVILLE—Some say that Olympian David Boudia may be the most promising male platform diver that America has produced since gold medalist Greg Louganis.

The 19-year-old, 5-foot-8-inch Boudia is a member of Our Lady of Grace Parish in Noblesville.

Parishioners held a pancake breakfast in his honor before he left for the Kaiser Permanente Diving National Championships in Pasadena, Calif. There, on July 26, he and teammate Thomas Finchum captured their sixth national title. David left on July 30 to compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“It’s amazing to have so much support and so many people behind you. I feel absolutely blessed to be a part of this parish,” he told The Noblesville Daily Times at the breakfast, which raised approximately $2,000 to help pay for his family’s trip to China.

“The people in the parish have been amazing,” Boudia’s sister, Shauni, said in a phone interview with The Catholic Moment. “Father John [Zahn, associate pastor at Our Lady of Grace Parish] has been following David for a while, and he came to the Trials. He has been very, very supportive, as well as the parish.”

Father Zahn, who has known David for six years, described him as a mild, focused, dedicated teenager.

“He dives all over the world, but he has always just been very unassuming,” Father Zahn said. “We’ll talk for a while about what is going on in his life. There is absolutely no pretense.”

He’s spiritual, too, the priest said. At the time of the Olympic Trials, Father Zahn asked the parishioners to join him in raising their hands and offering a special blessing.

“He said, ‘You don’t know what this means to me,’ ” Father Zahn said.

“It’s all very exciting and different,” said Shauni Boudia, 20, a soccer player at the University of Southern Indiana. “I’m very honored and proud of him. My parents have been awesome through this whole time, helping him. He practices from 7 [a.m.] to 4 [p.m.], six times [a week], with Sunday off.”

“He is sort of like the boy next door,” said Debbie Gysin, a parishioner at Our Lady of Grace who has known David for three years. Her daughter, Lindsey, and Shauni are close friends.

Gysin has seen Boudia dive at the natatorium in Indianapolis where he trains. At first, she said, she was amazed that anyone could perform so many precise moves in such a short distance and brief amount of time. But when she saw him compete in the Olympic Trials in June, “You knew there was more on the line, that he had to do well. Everything he had been working for came down to that moment.”

Lindsey Gysin described David as “really laid-back, one of those people you can get along with instantly, a lot of fun.” She knows him from Noblesville, but also has spent some time with him when he has competed at Ohio State University, where she is a student.

The Boudia family is dedicated to David’s diving, she said. David attended Noblesville High School until the middle of his junior year, then was homeschooled. His intensive training schedule is “a job … he goes to bed really early,” she said.

David, a gymnast, switched to diving in 2000. He trains at the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis and is coached by John Wingfield, who directs USA Diving. The son of Jim and Sheilagh Boudia, David was born in Texas. His other sister, Shaila, 22, has graduated from college. He will enroll at Purdue University this fall.

David earned his spot on the Olympic team on June 22 by winning the 10-meter individual platform finals with a record-setting performance in the Olympic Trials held in Indianapolis. Teamed with Finchum, of Indianapolis, he also will represent the United States in the 10-meter platform synchronized diving.

The U.S. men’s diving team won no medals in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. The U.S. men have not won a gold medal in platform diving since Louganis captured his second straight in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.


(Go to the website of The Catholic Moment)

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