Q&A with diver Steele Johnson
Can you tell us about your injuries? What did it take to come back from them?
I hit my head on the 10m platform which took me out for a long time. But more recently, I had a broken ankle which I ended up diving on throughout my entire collegiate and international season of 2015. The trainers wanted to take me out to get surgery, but I ended up just diving on the ankle and would wear a boot and crutches all day outside of the pool.
Do you have any early memories of diving for the first time?
Since my big head injury, I've had a lot of memory loss problems. But I do remember that I would go to practice every day and, instead of complaining about my workout, I would just go out and love to flip off of the board every day. I never got bored with it from a young age like most kids did.
What is your earliest or favorite memory of watching the Olympics? Did you imagine yourself being in that position someday?
The only one I remember watching the Olympics was back in 2012 when I got to watch David Boudia (my now synchro partner) win the Olympic gold medal. Such a cool moment!
Within your sport, who has been your greatest influence and why?
David Boudia. Not many people get to train with the Olympic gold medalist, but even fewer people get to compete synchro with them. We do synchro, which has helped my diving a lot, but it has also helped us form a deeper friendship. He has taught me so much and I wouldn't trade diving with him or being friends with him for anything.
What is your music of choice while training? Do you have a favorite go-to song that motivates you?
I listen to a lot of jazz music, but when I am training I listen to metal music. Memphis May Fire is my go-to band and almost all of the song on their album titled "Challenger" get me motivated for practice.
Who is your favorite musician?
What is the last concert you attended?
Panic! at the Disco
Please describe your personal style.
Punk rock. I tend to dress like a front man for a punk/ metal/ rock band.
What is your go-to casual outfit when not in your athletic clothes?
Slim jeans, overly long t-shirts, Vans and a beanie.
If you were not an athlete, what would you like to be doing?
I would love to be a front man for a metal band.
What is your favorite movie? Please tell us why.
"Sinister." I love this movie because I like scary movies, but this is the only scary movie with a non-happy ending (which is hard to come by). It was a cinematic masterpiece in my eyes.
What's your teammates' nickname for you?
My old teammates called me Sajmahal (not sure why), and my new teammates call me Stove (still not sure why).
Do you have any hidden talents?
I am an avid Guitar Hero 3 player.
Do you collect anything?
I collect my old passports.
Can you admit what your worst habit is?
Not finishing tasks. I will start a ton of different tasks, but for some reason I get distracted and start different projects.
Do you like to travel? What has been the most special place you have traveled to and why?
I love to travel. The most special place for me has been Shanghai, China because it was my first World Cup.
Can you tell us something quirky about yourself that people would be amused to learn?
Most people think I'm very outgoing, but I'm actually very shy.
Please elaborate on each of the hobbies you circled and that you participate in regularly by providing details such as where/how often/alone or with friends, etc.
I am a film major in college, so anything regarding photography, filmmaking, playing with technology (i.e. Cameras, computers, phones) makes me excited. I love music and grew up with music, so I am constantly practicing my instrument, listening to new music and singing loudly in my car. I read every day, and while I used to hate reading, I now love it.
Do you have any pre-competition rituals?
I just treat that day like any normal day. I try to keep the same routine during a competition as I would at home.
If you are to cheat on your nutrition plan, what's your go-to snack?
A Mountain Dew flavored slush i.e. from the gas station!