David Boudia, at home instead of in Tokyo, uses Olympic delay to master new event

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Olympic diving champion David Boudia was supposed to be in Tokyo right now. Instead, he’s home in Indiana chasing his three kids, all 5 years and younger.

“It’s a different time for all of us,” Boudia told Mike Tirico on NBCSN’s Lunch Talk Live on Thursday. “But, at the end of the day, this is not about just one person or one athlete or even one nation. This is a global epidemic, so we’re just trying to do what we can at home.”

Boudia, who won the 2012 Olympic platform title, is bidding for his fourth Olympics and his first on the springboard.

After earning two medals in Rio, Boudia took 2017 off from diving to sell homes. In February 2018, he suffered a concussion on a badly missed dive in training off the 10-meter platform, sparking the switch to springboard, a common move for divers late in their careers.

Last year, Boudia won a national title on the springboard. He finished fifth at the world championships. Goal accomplished. Boudia knew he needed to increase his difficulty for the Olympic year.

“It was different. I’m used to jumping off a three-story building, 33 feet up in the air,” Boudia told Tirico. “Transferring to a three-meter springboard, it puts a little spin on things, but the transition was smooth because I dove it at Purdue University for NCAAs. I’ll have to say, Mike, the next 14 months has kind of helped add some motivation where I can get that much better since I just switched to it right after the Rio Games. The more time, the better. Let’s see what it looks like two weeks from now, four weeks from now and then ultimately July 2021.”

Boudia’s next international competition could be the FINA World Cup, which was due to be held next week in Tokyo. When it is rescheduled, it is expected to be the last chance for nations to qualify quota spots for the Olympics. Boudia was expected to enter the synchronized springboard with his Rio Olympic platform partner, Steele Johnson.

Diving typically has an Olympic Trials, where the top two individuals per event can qualify for the Games, plus the top team per synchro event (assuming the U.S. qualifies the quota spots).

Boudia wants to become the first U.S. diver to compete on the platform and the springboard over an Olympic career since Mark Ruiz, who did both in 2000.

“Initially, athletes, you look at this, and it’s daunting,” Boudia said. “You’ve trained extremely hard the past four years. For us to be pushed back another year, it just seems, all that work you’ve done, now you do another 15 months of that. It’s overwhelming at times, but at the same time, at the end of the day, there’s a blessing to it. What are the things in my offseason that I couldn’t get to? What can I do now, planning forward, for the next 14 months that’s going to get me where I want to be in Tokyo 2021?”

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