David Boudia Is A Dad First, And An Olympian The Rest Of The Time

David Boudia is competing in the Rio Olympic Games as the defending gold medalist in the men's 10-meter platform diving competition. That means he'll be launching himself off of a three-story high platform into a swimming pool while twisting and twirling his plummeting body through the air at 35 miles per hour. If that sounds pretty gutsy, I would have to agree, but David Boudia is a dad first, and a fearless flying Olympic diver the rest of the time. He also has one fear that you probably don't know about.

"I think snakes are the most terrible things in the entire world," Boudia tells Bustle. That's right, snakes occupy the space that an average person has reserved for a healthy fear of falling from high places. "Also, I would rather not hear people take their forks and scrape across their teeth, totally gives me the heebee geebees," he says. After a dive, Boudia jumps right out of the water and back into the role of family man. "Afterwards, I’m exhausted, but the first thing I want to then do is run and find my family whether it was a good or bad dive." His daughter Dakoda was born about two years after he won in London.

And, just like her dad, young Dakoda has already shown a keen interest in the water. "We can’t get her out of the bathtub or pool when she’s swimming. She’s our little fish right now and a daredevil," he says. "My family and I go to a lake in Tennessee where she likes to jump off the houseboat. Even though it’s a short two to three foot jump, I can’t believe she’s not even two yet and is doing that! It terrifies me, but she really loves the water."

Boudia didn't know as a kid that he would be an elite diver. But, there was one thing he was pretty sure of. "I was extremely athletic and competitive and knew the only thing I wanted to be was an Olympian," he explains. Watching eight-time Olympic speed skating medalist Apolo Ohno inspired the young Boudia. "I remember watching him speed skate and appreciated how he carried himself well and carried Team USA. I wanted to be like him."

It's not just Boudia's family cheering him on in the stands in Rio. He is also a member of the Head & Shoulders Shoulders of Greatness campaign. "I think going in to such a high pressure, intense Olympic Games, it’s really comforting to know that you have a whole team behind you like Head & Shoulders cheering you on," Boudia says. "When you have Shoulders of Greatness, you don’t have to worry when you know you have so much support behind you to achieve great things."

Another pro tip from Boudia? Always make sure you're living in the moment. "The key to success is taking it one step at a time and not getting overwhelmed by the big picture," he says. "I’d recommend getting a smoothie, some coffee and take a moment to yourself."

One thing he won't say, though, is where he keeps all those Olympic medals. "Well if I told anyone where I keep them, they’d know where to find them!" he says. "I keep them in a fire proof safe along with my will."

Images: Getty Images