Johnson has been diving since he … Though he was lucky to only receive staples in his head, Johnson has since felt the more serious effects from the gruesome injury. Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter, Sports Department Intern, The Huffington Post. Johnson explained in his video that Wingfield had to hold Johnson’s head together to prevent him from bleeding out and from chlorine seeping into the wound, which could have caused brain damage. The show, which was rebooted in 2016 after its initial airing in 1956, is hosted by Anthony Anderson. United States' silver medalists Steele Johnson, right, and David Boudia, left, pose with their medals after the men's synchronized 10-meter platform diving final in the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016. “So my mom was always trying to slow me down and put me in lessons so I would be safe about it, but I was pretty rowdy as a kid.”. Press Democrat: “I even think Steele getting 13th (individually) was totally God because it’s the, ‘OK, are you still going to say God got me here? It was a year, many dryland training sessions (think gymnastics with a diving twist) and lots of dives later before Steele attempted the reverse 3 ½ again. Purdue University diver Steele Johnson and his teammate David Boudia are headed to the 2016 Olympics in Rio. He continued to work on his dive and continued in his sport, earning national titles and continuing to dive as a student at Purdue University. That accident is ever-present with the Johnsons, who sometimes jokingly call Steele’s reverse 3 ½ the headbanger dive. He brings with him a focus and an eye cast toward Tokyo 2020. October 19, 2016. Toll Free: 1-877-247-2426. It’s one of his best dives, and that’s mind blowing to me. “It was truly an accident.”. “He had a pretty bad accident, and from that, to continue on a path to the Olympic games was amazing,” said Wingfield, now head coach of RipFest Diving in Indiana. But we will also tell you that he was very fortunate. He held the skin of his young diver’s head together, keeping the blood in and the chlorine out. Soldati, who once told his church that he’s a follower of Christ who happens to be a diving coach, commends Steele for staying engaged in spiritual discipline, especially under the bright lights of athletic stardom. “It’s the classic Romans 8:28: ‘God works for the good of those who trust in Him,’” Steele said. Steele’s parents attended a Billy Graham Crusade in Indianapolis, and Jill’s parents even volunteered for one in Amsterdam. It was Jan. 21, 2009. After winning his silver medal, Johnson talked about how easy it could have been for him to walk away from the sport he loves. We will say that until our dying day.”. Steele Johnson's childhood in photos, from his freak diving accident to goofing around with his brother and snorkeling. “The fact that I was going into this event knowing that my identity is rooted in Christ and not what the result of this competition is just gave me peace,” Steele told NBC reporter Kelli Stavast after competing in his first Olympic event. “We are fortunate,” Jill said. They’re grateful for the decision Wingfield made. Permissions He launched out. His coach has studied the work of Tony Dungy and Billy Graham. Steele grew up in church, which is to say if he wasn’t diving or studying schoolwork at home, he probably was attending youth group. Steele Johnson, an Olympic silver medalist and 5-time NCAA diving champion from Purdue University, has announced he will forgo his final year of NCAA eligibility to turn pro. “That’s our way of coping with the stress,” Jill said. The accident didn’t really change his life, though, until recently, he told BGEA. Diving almost cost the Olympian his life seven years ago. Both divers stressed their identity isn’t wrapped up in winning a medal. He climbed the stairs roughly three stories to the top of the 10-meter platform, which from that vantage point appears almost 5 stories high when you consider the pool below holds 17 feet of water. They have to work up to it, and their degree of dive difficulty also increases as they demonstrate competency. They know each other. “It gave me ease, and it let me enjoy the contest. The video of the dive was erased shortly after the accident and Johnson … Once Wingfield established that Steele’s accident was just that—an accident—he deleted the tape. A year before Steele came to terms with his accident, the Purdue freshman also had a spiritual realization. According to the Washington Post, Johnson was back on the diving platform a mere month after the incident. Soldati challenged Steele to engage fully in God’s Word and get involved in his local church. Steele Johnson has always looked at the world from a different perspective. Johnson and Boudia won a bronze medal in the synchronized 10-meter platform. Steele is 6’1″ and Boudia is 5’9″, but they parallel well because their foundation was rooted once upon a time under Wingfield’s direction. Divers descend from the 10 meter platform at roughly 33 mph, and the impact was enough to fully open the cut on his scalp. Still, it was decision time in the Johnson household given their middle child’s brush with death. In fact, he had completed it successfully a day or so before the incident. Jill was encouraged by the way her son took a stand for his faith–and not just a faith in God, but one in Jesus. Earlier this year, the aspiring communications major shared his perspective for the first time on his video blog. How Growing Up With Two Dads Shaped This Diver’s Olympic Dreams. “That’s the struggle with the Olympic journey,” Soldati said. Although accidents in diving are extremely rare, on January 21 in 2009 at age 12, Steele struck his head on a concrete platform doing a reverse 3 ½ … “When something like that happens in your life, a near-death experience, you don’t know where you’re going to be going with your life,” Johnson told Team USA reporter Rebecca Harris. I firmly believe God’s going to call you home when He’s ready to call you home. He landed on his head, which caused his scalp to become “ripped in half,” according to Johnson’s account of the injury in a video posted on the seven-year anniversary of the fall. For Johnson, it was the final step to overcoming a horrific head injury he endured seven years earlier while practicing his diving. “Steele will be one of those guys, he’ll always be doing extra workouts on his own,” Bonhotal said. ANGELS CAMP, Calif. (Sept. 30, 2019) — A driver identified as Dan Tzur was killed and two others were injured Sunday in a collision on Highway 4 at Stockton Road.. Kristina Steele, of Hayward, was riding in a car driven by Matthew Steele when Tzur’s vehicle pulled out of a driveway into their path on at Highway 4 near Stockton Road. Steele completed about one and a half somersaults when his head scraped the edge of the platform. Such a comeback story, a tale of God’s protection and timing. In 2009, at age 12, he was practicing his favorite dive, a triple reverse somersault in a tuck position — watch for him to ace it in the men’s individual platform diving in Rio — when he cracked his skull on a concrete platform, sliced open his scalp and fell 33 feet into the pool. Steele leaned on Purdue diving coach Adam Soldati and teammate David Boudia, who had his own come-to-Jesus moment in 2009 after not medaling in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. On Jan. 21, 2009, a 12-year-old Johnson was at Indiana University practicing what is now his favorite dive: a reverse three-and-a-half somersault in the tuck position, according to the Washington Post. Yet Steele said he would cringe every time a reporter brought it up. The story is a part of Steele’s life that God is using, but reliving the moment by video wouldn’t help anybody. “The fact that he’s in the fight—that’s why I would say he’s doing well.”. Home He completed another rotation before traveling headfirst into the water. “Our job is to be able to go in there and do what it takes to give Him glory, so whether that’s us accomplishing a silver medal or getting sixth place, we have an opportunity to be able to proclaim Him.”. They’re free to be completely honest with one another, which is liberating because standing atop a platform 33 feet in the air in nothing but a speedo can be mind game enough. Johnson told Team USA reporter Rebecca Harris. Contact Us. “Many people would have quit right then, and Steele had a greater meaning and a greater purpose for what he wanted to accomplish. “It was a great moment so to speak and his confidence, you could see it immediately.”. “So it wasn’t a situation beyond his ability or his progression,” Wingfield said. “I reached out to them, and they just poured so much of their time, energy, heart and soul into me,” said Steele, who won two NCAA championships his freshman year at Purdue. In February 2015, a stress fracture was found in his right foot. He had successfully completed the progressions and even collected some more medals at the 2009 Junior Pan American Games. Add your voice! Senior Radio Producer Phil Fleischman contributed to this story. Something else important to point out is divers don’t start their careers on the 10-meter platform. Steele Johnson almost died on the diving platform. I’m not happy. I have no joy, and I know that is really going to come from Jesus. Then, the moment to glorify God on an international stage arrived: the post-dive interview. Steele, being the amazing diver that he is, had this horrible accident and now the reverse three and a half is his favorite dive. “[Steele] started to see that the road that he was going on was not satisfying. Boudia, a longtime friend who shared in Bible study with Soldati and Steele throughout the Olympics, said he really noticed a change in his “little brother” about a year ago. United States' silver medalists Steele Johnson, right, and David Boudia, left, pose with their medals after the men's synchronized 10-meter platform diving final at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The story is a part of Steele’s life that God is using, but reliving the moment by video wouldn’t help anybody. I'm Steele and I'm a 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist in Diving! After all, Jill noted, accidents happen in everyday life, too. The pain was manageable, so he put off potential surgery. By his second birthday, he was jumping comfortably off the diving board with his parents nearby yelling, “Kick your feet” so the tiny tot would get to safety. Why, God, why did this happen?’ so I can use that story to share with them. At one point during the year, Soldati said Steele apologized to his teammates for being inconsiderate of their NCAA needs as he chased Rio. And it was forcing us to say, did we really mean this? Twelve-year-old Steele, with a host of medals to his name and a strong, stubborn work ethic, had shown that he was ready for the reverse 3 ½. ©2020 Verizon Media. “We kind of looked at each other and I said, ‘You’re ready,’” Wingfield recalled. Kellie Van Gilder   •   “Diving coaches probably don’t want to hear us call it the headbanger dive, but that is the dive that he banged his head on. Remembering the incident during a phone call recently, Wingfield paused to collect himself upon learning what Jill said. And You put me here and it’s OK?’, “How did he handle it? I kind of got to the realization of like, ‘This isn’t going to get me anywhere in life. On the morning of July 6, 2013, the Boeing 777-200ER crashed on final approach into San Francisco International Airport. They sat down Steele, his head full of staples, and said simply, “You don’t have to do this.”. Wingfield immediately reviewed the tape from that day and confirmed it was just a fluke. “Everything happens for the good of those who love Him, so if I sit back and I look at that situation, yes, that is something I don’t want anyone to ever go through and I hope no one ever has to experience something like that in their life. Asiana Airlines Flight 214 was a scheduled transpacific passenger flight from Incheon International Airport near Seoul, South Korea, to San Francisco International Airport in the United States. “He was one of those kids who preferred to be upside down instead of right-side up,” Steele’s mother Jill said, remembering how her husband Bill would flip baby Steele as some dads are apt to do. Wingfield doesn’t like to talk about the accident. Why did this happen to me?’ That’s just never been my attitude towards it, but now I realize that is a story that can help people just because a lot of bad things happen to people in life, and a lot of people are like, ‘Why me? “I could have stopped diving, I could have gone back to middle school and just been a normal kid and played different sports like football or soccer.”. It’s a roaring lion ready to devour you at any moment,” Soldati said. Thirty-three staples and a plastic drainage tube later, Steele was discharged from the hospital. He had a cut and a minor concussion. “More importantly, when we do pray, Adam Soldati, our coach, really leads it but we want to be able to go into this competition and just be a vehicle for God’s glory,” Boudia said. “There’s certainly a flood of emotion that goes through me,” said Wingfield, a professing believer who strives for a Christ-centered environment for his athletes. Privacy ©2020 BGEA He didn’t break his neck. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote! This event wasn’t a story for him; it was real life. I want to reach the world with the Good News by equipping the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association with resources—including personnel, materials, support services, buildings and more—to urgently respond to every opportunity to share Jesus Christ with others. In fact, he has declined interviews about it up until this point. A major diving-related head injury almost killed Johnson at age 12, when he struck his head on the concrete platform and his "scalp ripped in half," as The Indianapolis Star reported. Today is National Voter Registration Day! The head injury had damaged both his short and long-term memory. They stayed there until the paramedics arrived. “He’s incredibly focused. It’s not always gonna be that drastic of a change, but just know God’s got a plan and His plan is for us to be conformed to the image of His Son daily.”. Success. *A line consists of roughly 25-30 characters including letters, spaces, and punctuation. His parents signed him up. In 2016, Johnson revealed that he still suffered from short- and long-term memory loss due to the accident. “If I was going at a faster rate hitting the water, I could’ve torn more of my scalp open.”. For Johnson, it was the final step to overcoming a horrific head injury he endured seven years earlier while practicing his diving. And Josh Bonhotal, assistant director of sports performance at Purdue, anticipates Steele will be just as intense this year as in years past. On that day, Steele was practicing a relatively new dive in his lineup, the reverse 3 ½ somersault tuck. “Yes, he does impress the girls, and he is diving as safely as he can, but then he almost killed himself doing it, too, so you really can’t plan.”. He didn’t figure it out until he got to college. Diver Steele Johnson, owner of a fabulous name, won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics in 10m men's synchronized diving. The dive took only seconds to complete and soon enough, the Boilermakers were toweling off, watching their 95.04 score appear. Johnson lost consciousness and plummeted 33 feet into the pool. The most recent stop on their journey was Rio, where Boudia and Steele claimed a silver medal in the synchronized diving event. This man, Bill Johnson, used to tell funny stories about this and that, but mostly, he talked about his son, Steele Johnson, the young Carmel-bred diver from Purdue who will be going to the Rio Olympics in a few short weeks.Steele, he would tell me and anybody else within earshot, was the real deal, a diving star who would stand astride the diving world as one of the sport’s elite. Sure they’d like to win, but it isn’t all about that. Steele wasn’t quite a year old when his parents first had him in the neighborhood pool. Johnson hopes to reunite with Boudia in synchro springboard for a Tokyo 2020 run, but he’s not ready to add that event yet. U.S. diver Steele Johnson won a silver medal Monday in Rio de Janeiro with teammate David Boudia for men’s synchronized 10-meter platform diving. Johnson feels fortunate to be competing at all. But when stuff like that does occur, it is for the good of His people in some way or another. Local: 704-401-2432 “He started doing backflips [off the diving board by age 3-4], and then he started doing inwards and reverses, and I thought he was going to kill himself,” Jill said. The entire time, Steele had hidden the fact from almost everyone that he was still suffering side effects from the accident. “With the amount of blood that I lost, it’s likely that I could’ve died,” Johnson said in his video. Seven years after his accident, Johnson, an Indiana native, posted a video on YouTube to retell the nearly tragic day on Jan. 21, 2009. 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