I don't remember how or why I became a fan of diving great Greg Louganis, maybe it was his graceful yet powerful diving skills, maybe it was his facial and physical beauty, maybe it was my gaydar or maybe it was his speedo. It was probably all of the above.
One of the greatest divers of all time, Greg won his fist Olympic medal (a silver) in 1976 and was favored to win two golds in 1980 but the boycott prevented that. He won two golds in 1984 and most famously won two golds in 1988. He won numerous world championships by huge scoring margins and was virtually unbeatable for over 10 years. It was in 1988 that he hit his head on the diving board drawing blood and requiring several stitches. In spite of the odds and with the help of several record setting dives, Greg came back to win the Gold by just 1.4 points. What wasn't known at the time was that Greg was both gay and HIV+. He had only been diagnosed a few months prior to the Olympics and had only told a few people and the physicians treating him.
In his 1996 memoir, Breaking the Surface, which spent five weeks on the NYT best sellers list, he came out, relived the behind the scenes drama of hitting his head and knowing that he was HIV+, told of the bullying his suffered as a child because he was Samoan and had a learning disability, his distant and somewhat abusive father, his failed and physically, mentally and financially abusive relationships (one of which lead to his HIV+ infection) and his love of dogs. His book was made into a Showtime movie in 1997 and starred Mario Lopez. (If you get the chance, I recommend reading his book.)
Greg turned 52 years old this year, is looking great and says he is happier than ever. He spends his time raising dogs, being an advocate for GLBT rights and HIV awareness and education and guest starred on the penultimate episode of the second season of IFC's comedy Portlandia.
FUN TIDBIT: Actor Michael Fassbender took Louganis's gait and mannerisms as inspiration for his portrayal of an advanced humanoid robot in the 2012 film Prometheus, stating that, "Louganis was my first inspiration. I figured that I'd sort of base my physicality roughly around him, and then it kind of went from there."
|Amazingly, this was the only photo I could find of Greg and his metals.|