Olympic platform champion David Boudia believes not one but two medals are possible at the World Diving Championships that begin this weekend in Kazan, Russia.
Boudia, who in 2012 became the first American to win an individual Olympic diving medal since 2000, hopes to earn a third straight Worlds platform medal on the final day of competition Aug. 2.
But one week before that, this Sunday, Boudia believes he and rising Purdue sophomore Steele Johnson can contend for gold in the synchro platform. So much so that Boudia, the only U.S. medalist at either 2011 or 2013 Worlds, said his chances of individual gold and synchro gold are “pretty even.”
In 2012, Boudia took Olympic synchro bronze with Nick McCrory, who has since retired. Boudia and Johnson first teamed last year and finished second and third in their two international competitions.
In Kazan, all eyes will be on the dominant Chinese, winners of nine of 10 diving events at the 2013 Worlds. Their one defeat two years ago? The synchro platform, to a German pair.
Boudia and Johnson may benefit Sunday from the reported Chinese roster for Kazan, since its men’s synchro platform team includes neither of China’s individual platform superstars — Qiu Bo and Yang Jian.
Nor is it the Chinese pair that beat Boudia and Johnson by 1.98 points at a FINA World Series event in Windsor, Ontario, on May 22. Nor is it the pair that beat Boudia and Johnson by 80.34 points at the 2014 FINA World Cup in Shanghai.
Individually, Boudia used a silver-medal performance at the 2011 Worlds as fuel for an upset victory at the London Olympics, over the past World champions Qiu and Brit Tom Daley.
“It definitely is a little different now than it was leading into London, and leading up to London, because there’s two powerful Chinese divers,” Boudia said recently, as Yang is new to the scene. “It’s not going to be easy.”
In 2013, Boudia trounced Qiu in the Worlds semifinals (534.40 to 457.55) but was no match in the final (a 581.00 to 517.40 margin in Qiu’s favor).
The American has finished no higher than third in six World Series individual platform competitions since. Qiu, Yang and Daley shared the six World Series titles this year.
Boudia remains confident and said he’s on “middle ground” with the Chinese in degree of difficulty.
“I can see holes in their training, I can see holes in their competition where I know it’s anybody’s game,” he said. “I can be real and say that I’m not going to win, but that’s not how it is. I know that there’s possibilities, that there’s holes for mistakes, and it can happen to anybody.”
UniversalSports.com will stream all finals live for subscribers.
Finals Schedule (ET)
Saturday, July 25 — Mixed synchro platform (8-9:30 a.m.)
Saturday, July 25 — Women’s synchro springboard (12:30-1:30 p.m.)
Sunday, July 26 — Men’s synchro platform (12:30-1:45 p.m.)
Monday, July 27 — Men’s 1m springboard (8-10:15 a.m.)
Monday, July 27 — Women’s synchro platform (12:30-1:30 p.m.)
Tuesday, July 28 — Women’s 1m springboard (8-9 a.m.)
Tuesday, July 28 — Men’s synchro springboard (12:30-1:45 p.m.)
Wednesday, July 29 — Team event (12:30-1:45 p.m.)
Thursday, July 30 — Women’s platform (12:30-1:45 p.m.)
Friday, July 31 — Men’s 3m springboard (12:30-1:45 p.m.)
Saturday, Aug. 1 — Women’s 3m springboard (12:30-1:30 p.m.)
Sunday, Aug. 2 — Mixed synchro springboard (8-9:30 a.m.)
Sunday, Aug. 2 — Men’s 10m platform (12:30-1:45 p.m.)