Indianapolis gets 2016 Olympic Trials in diving
David Boudia's road to Rio will begin on his home turf - Indianapolis.
On Tuesday, USA Diving selected Indy to host the eight-day 2016 Olympic diving trials, beating out Atlanta. It will be the sixth time Indianapolis has hosted the event and has stoked the emotions of a defending Olympic gold medalist whose career took off in this same venue, the Indiana University Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI.
''When I was younger, all I wanted was to see my name on that wall,'' Boudia said, referring to the names of the Olympic qualifiers that are painted in blue ink on the wall behind the diving platforms. ''There's no question in my mind that this Olympic Trials will be the best that I've seen in my lifetime.''
The 24-year-old Boudia, who was born in Texas but didn't start diving until he moved to Indiana, won two medals in London - bronze in the 10-meter synchronized platform and gold in the 10-meter individual platform.
Much has changed since then. He's co-hosted a reality television show, become a statewide celebrity, gotten married and is about to graduate from Purdue. But over the years, not much has changed about his affinity for the IU Natatorium.
Apparently, USA Diving officials felt the same way. After winnowing the field of contenders from six to two last month, a committee of diving staff and board members took a second look at both venues. Atlanta wanted to host the event at the natatorium on Georgia Tech's campus, which was used for diving events at the 1996 Olympics.
A final decision wasn't supposed to be made public until Dec. 10, but the Indianapolis-based governing body didn't bother waiting that long and awarded the event to Indy in June 2016.
''I think they were very pleased with our bid package, our commitment to marketing the event, the community programs we offered and the experience we've had previously with major events to take them to a new level,'' Indiana Sports Corp. president said. ''That's what they were seeking.''
Indiana Sports Corp. has played a monumental role in bringing and running sporting events in Indianapolis such as the Super Bowl, men's and women's Final Fours, the world basketball and swimming championships and a host of other Olympics trials and national championship events over the past three decades.
One thing that could change this time is the look of the natatorium, which was originally built in 1982. Over the years, it has become known as one of the fastest pools in the world and has hosted everything from Olympic swimming and diving trials to the inaugural Duel in the Pool.
But few updates have been made to the facility since it was built in 1982, and local and state swimming officials have pleaded for upgrades in recent years.
They may finally be getting them now. Melangton said details of those plans would be released in the future.
''The natatorium is in need of some TLC, and we're addressing those needs,'' she said. ''We'll give it some TLC to keep the nat one of the premier aquatic venues in the country, if not the world.''
The star attraction, of course, will be Boudia, who took a three-month break after the Olympics before jumping back into full-time training.
Boudia has changed his regimen, cutting the number of hours he works to focus instead on what he describes as a smarter training routine - all so can he defend his Olympic title in less than three years.
And he couldn't have picked a better city to try and make his third Olympic team than Indy.
''It's definitely going to be special because my family, friends and supporters are all there,'' he said. ''This is where I started my diving career, and I don't know what my future holds, but it will be a special event, for sure.''