David Boudia prepares for world diving championships in a new role

David Boudia
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Last June 13, David Boudia drove home from the Olympic diving trials in Toothless, the name given to his Toyota Tundra by his oldest daughter, Koda, and replayed in his mind how he missed the team for Tokyo by three tenths of a percentage point.

When he arrived, his second daughter, Mila, ran up to the truck. She had two questions for dad.

“She asked me if I’ve ever caught fireflies, and if I wanted to catch fireflies with her,” Boudia said. “I just started to tear up.”

That interaction is what Boudia thought of first when asked to share any words he remembered after he placed third at trials, where the top two made the team. After 18 dives, Boudia had 1,314.95 points. He was 4.45 points shy of second place, the margin separating them being 0.3 percent.

“Yeah, that sucked a lot,” Boudia, a four-time medalist, said of missing an Olympics for the first time since he was 15 years old in 2004, “but it is sweet to have that kind of welcome home.

“Just putting everything in perspective.”

On that day, there was reason to wonder if Boudia had dived competitively for the last time. He was 32 years old. Will be 35 come the 2024 Paris Games, two years older than the oldest U.S. Olympic diver in history, according to Olympedia.org.

Boudia hasn’t competed since then and doesn’t know if he will again.

“Right now, I’m just enjoying what I’m doing,” he said.

Since July 1, less than three weeks after that trials heartbreak, he has been an assistant diving coach at his alma mater, Purdue, under his longtime coach, Adam Soldati. Boudia plans to go to the world championships in June in that role.

It was nine years ago that Michael Phelps attended his first world championships as a non-competitor and, partially sparked by what he felt on site, soon after unretired. Boudia isn’t preparing to be swayed one way or another in Budapest this summer.

“We’re content,” said Boudia, whose wife, Sonnie, gave birth to their fourth child and third daughter, Parker, in January. “We love where we live. I love what I do in the pool right now. So we’re taking it one stride at a time and seeing what the future holds.”

Boudia, who won the 2012 Olympic platform title with an exquisite final dive, took a year off after silver and bronze medals in 2016. He dabbled in real estate while he took time to decide whether to return. Ultimately, he came back in part because he missed the relationships forged with the diving community and at the pool.

“I don’t want to be 35, 40 years old and say, what if I would have given it another shot?” he said in 2017. “Kind of too late at that point.”

The last Olympic cycle was arduous even before the one-year Olympic postponement. His comeback was delayed by a concussion after he essentially belly-flopped on a crashed dive off the 10-meter platform. He ended up switching to the more forgiving three-meter springboard, but the same passion wasn’t there.

Then, his synchronized diving partner Steele Johnson, who had struggled with injuries, withdrew during the Olympic trials with a foot problem, ruling them out of Olympic qualification in that event. Five days later, Boudia went from first place after 15 rounds of the individual event to third place after the the 18th and final round.

He watched the Tokyo Games from home.

“The hardest thing was that in between Olympic trials and the Olympics because it was a position I hadn’t really been in,” he said. “Once the Summer Games are over and Closing Ceremonies happened, it was kind of like a good closure to that quad.”

For so long, Boudia, the lone U.S. diver to win a gold medal in the last two decades, dismissed the thought of ever becoming a coach.

“I was like, well, if I won the Olympic Games, I had success, there’s pride in it,” he reasoned. “Like I should go do bigger and better things and this high-achieving career.”

He had an epiphany about a year before Tokyo.

“A reality check,” he said. “Why can’t coaching be a career where you can still have a lot of major goals?”

If Boudia isn’t diving himself, he loves still being immersed in the sport. The joy in aiding somebody through a frustrating skill. The challenge in pinpointing and communicating to a pupil a specific flaw in a dive.

“Helping athletes who have those end goals that you’ve been able to accomplish, help them achieve that,” he said. “I’m really glad that I got some sense knocked into me and decided to jump into coaching.”

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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Mo Farah likely to retire this year

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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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