Last week, David Boudia and Steele Johnson won a silver medal in synchronized 10-meter diving. Both praised God on national television afterwards, and both achieved success through homeschooling.
“There’s been an enormous amount of pressure,” Boudia declared on NBC after his victory. “It’s just an identity crisis. When my mind in on [diving], and I’m thinking I’m defined by this, then my mind goes crazy. But we both know that our identity is in Christ, and we’re thankful for this opportunity to be able to dive in front of Brazil and in front of the United States. It’s been an absolutely thrilling moment for us.”
Johnson agreed. “The way David just described it was flawless — the fact that I was going into this event knowing that my identity is rooted in Christ and not what the result of this competition is just gave me peace … and it let me enjoy the contest,” Boudia’s partner added.
His faith gave him a confidence, no matter what happened. “If something went great, I was happy. If something didn’t go great, I could still find joy because I’m at the Olympics competing with the best person, the best mentor — just one of the best people to be around. God’s given us a cool opportunity, and I’m glad I could come away with an Olympic silver medal in my first-ever event.”
Boudia won an unexpected gold medal in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, giving the U.S. its first gold medal in men’s diving since Greg Louganis in 1988. After that surprising victory, the diver credited his faith. “My faith is the most important thing in my life, and this is what’s brought me through this 2012 games,” he declared.
Even then, he made comments similar to what he said last week: “The coolest thing about this is that I know that God is perfect and sovereign, and if I made it, great. If I didn’t, great. I was totally content if I was on the bubble or out.”
Next page: Another secret to Boudia’s success…
But another secret to Boudia’s success — and that of Johnson — is homeschooling. For his junior and senior years of high school, he left public schools and studied at home, enabling a rigorous diving schedule. Johnson also attended high school at home, earning his diploma from Laurel Springs School, a private accredited online school.
Homeschooling provides an option for athletes to train more intensively and to compete on schedules that would conflict with traditional schooling.
Olympic gymnastics gold medalist Simone Biles spoke movingly about her decision to remove herself from public high school, recalling the night she made the decision and cried. ” I was just so lonely all the time. I missed, like, all my friends at school and stuff. But I mean, in the end, it worked out,” she said.
Unlike Biles, Boudia chose a college experience, attending Purdue University, from which he graduated in 2012, the same year he won his first Olympic gold medal. He also published a book this month, Greater Than Gold: From Olympic Heartbreak to Ultimate Redemption.
Homeschooling has become more popular in recent decades for a variety of reasons. Some parents mistrust the public school system, fearing an overly secular education or even just a mediocre one. Homeschooling provides another school choice option for parents to choose, and stories like these show it can provide huge opportunities even beyond academic achievement.
Olympians like Boudia, Johnson, and Biles prove that school choice and homeschooling — and the Christian faith — are powerful instruments of opportunity. Don’t let anyone tell you Christian homeschoolers receive a sub-par education or can’t amount to anything in life. These Olympians prove otherwise.