If you hadn’t already guessed it by now, we’re pretty big supporters of #TeamInternet around here. So try to imagine how crazy we all went when we found out that YouTuber and athlete Steele Johnson had not just competed in the Rio 2016 Olympics, but took home the silver medal in the sport that nearly killed him seven years ago.
On Monday the 8th of August, Steele and his diving partner David Boudia took to their diving platform, fist-bumped and then performed a perfect 2 1/2 somersault with 2 1/2 twists dive in the Men’s 10-Meter Synchronised Dive Olympics event. Whilst they came second to the Chinese divers, Chen Aisen and Lin Ye, Steele and David scored incredibly well and now hold a medal in “every colour” – an achievement Steele never thought would be possible.
In a vlog uploaded to his YouTube channel, Steele recounts the story of the “accident” back in middle school that nearly cost him his life. At only 12 years old, Steele was trying out what would later become one of his favourite diving routines, the difficult 3 1/2 somersault dive. On that day back in 2009, the dive proved to be too advanced for him as his head soon collided with the concrete platform below, splitting his scalp in half and causing him to plunge head first into the 33-foot deep pool.
His Indiana University coach quickly dived in to rescue Steele by holding his head together to stop the chlorine from rushing into the wound and causing brain damage before he was later rushed off to the hospital. “With the amount of blood that I lost, it’s likely that I could have died… if I was maybe a centimetre closer to the platform, I could have fractured my skull”, recounts Steele. Amazingly, doctors released him from hospital without an overnight stay because he only suffered from a “minor concussion”, making him the luckiest person on the planet IMHO.
Following on from the accident, Steele only suffered some mild short/long term memory loss and had a total of 33 stitches over his head, but the most incredible thing he achieved in his entire diving career came in 2016 when he won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics. Steele is a truly inspirational reminder to never to give up on your dreams, no matter how much it tries to hospitalise you!
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