WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — Purdue diver and Olympic silver medalist Steele Johnson has officially moved on to the professional ranks after signing a representation contract.
Johnson and Shade Global officially announced their partnership Tuesday. Shade Global represents numerous Olympic athletes in many different sports, including Johnson's friend and USA Diving teammate David Boudia. They won silver together in synchronized 10-meter at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Both men also represented Team USA in the individual 10-meter event.
Multiple foot surgeries prevented Johnson from competing for Purdue this season. He is a five-time NCAA champion for the Boilermakers, winning national titles in all three diving events during his career. Johnson is one of only two men to accomplish that feat.
"This decision was one that I have been looking forward to for some time now," Johnson said. "I will ultimately miss competing for Purdue, but I am looking forward to shifting my focus towards the Olympics in 2020. Without Purdue, I would not be where I am today, and for that I am very grateful! Purdue has helped me achieve my dreams, and now I am excited to put all of my efforts towards achieving other Olympic dreams."
Johnson is in line to graduate from Purdue in May with a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary film and video studies. He'll continue training at the Morgan J. Burke Aquatic Center under the tutelage of Purdue head diving coach Adam Soldati, with his sights set on the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Even though he began his college career by winning a pair of NCAA titles during the 2014-15 season, Johnson still had the option of returning to Purdue's active roster for the 2019-20 school year. An Athletics Activity Waiver would have provided him with a sixth year of eligibility. It would have been coupled with the Olympic Practice Waiver he utilized in 2015-16 and a medical redshirt season this year.
Johnson holds Purdue records in both springboard events. His 3-meter mark as the 2018 Big Ten champion in the event doubles as a conference record. Boudia is the only Boilermaker with a higher list score than him on 10-meter. Johnson's first conference title was on the tower at the 2017 Big Ten Championships. He won silver in all three events in his debut at the conference meet in 2015.
Boudia also opted to forgo his final season of college eligibility after winning six NCAA titles from 2009 to 2011. Texas' Troy Dumais (7), Boudia (6) and Johnson (5) are the only men to win at least five NCAA diving titles during their careers. Johnson finished among the top two in seven of his nine career events at the NCAA Championships.
Along with his synchro success with Boudia, Johnson was also a USA Diving national champion with current Boilermaker and two-time Big Ten platform champion Brandon Loschiavo. They've won consecutive USA Diving national titles together in synchronized 10-meter. They represented USA Diving at the 2017 FINA World Championships and 2018 FINA World Cup.
Johnson is one of five Boilermakers to win the Purdue Male Athlete of the Year award multiple times (2015, 2018). He has also excelled academically at Purdue, earning Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and Academic All-Big Ten honors.
STEELE JOHNSON'S CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENTS
2016 Olympic Silver Medalist
5-Time NCAA National Champion
12-Time USA Diving Senior National Champion
2-Time FINA World Championships Qualifier
2-Time Purdue Male Athlete of the Year
2-Time CSCAA National Diver of the Year
3-Time Big Ten Diver of the Year
2-Time Big Ten Champion
7-Time Medalist at the NCAA Championships
7-Time Medalist at the Big Ten Championships
16-Time Big Ten Diver of the Week