LONDON (BP) -- David Boudia should have been happy.
At age 19, he competed in his first Olympics in Beijing. USA Diving's male athlete of the year in 2008, Boudia was heading for what proved to be an immensely successful diving career at Purdue.
|BP Sports editor Tim Ellsworth, in his seat for the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in London, is providing daily reports for Baptist Press.|
But the happiness was elusive.
"Throughout the journey through 2008, I was chasing after so many things that never lasted," Boudia said. "At the end
of the Olympic Games in 2008 I walked away and I looked around, and I was like, 'All right, was that it?'"
His experience in this year's Olympics in London promises to be different because Boudia is different. He became a
Christian during his time at Purdue and has since discovered the joy in pursuing things that are eternal rather than temporary.
Boudia's emptiness after the 2008 Olympics continued through his freshman year and into his sophomore year at Purdue. He jumped into the college party scene. He made a lot of friends and a lot of self-described "silly choices."
One day, the depression got so severe he couldn't even get out of bed.
"I woke up from a nap and felt like I'd hit a wall," Boudia said. "I didn't know what was going on. I didn't know what my purpose was. I didn't know why I was feeling the way I was feeling."
A diving teammate at Purdue directed Boudia to his coach, of all people. Boudia called Adam Soldati and went over to his house, where he sat and listened to Soldati and his wife Kimiko talk about the Lord.
Soldati said the hopelessness he saw in Boudia is common among elite athletes.
"They're grabbing onto and they're holding onto their sport to ultimately define them, to give them a sense of identity," Soldati said. "God has put that in us to run after and to seek satisfaction, but ultimately that's going to be found in His son Jesus, period."
The Soldatis told Boudia that God created the world, but that men rebelled against Him and tried to find satisfaction in everything except Him. They told him how God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ, who lived a sinless life, died on the cross to bear the punishment for people's sins and rose again from the dead.
"We just gave him the Gospel," Soldati said. Read More