It takes tenacity to keep having a crush on someone for 37 years, but here I am, still dreamy over Greg Louganis, who continues to be devastatingly handsome as he turns 53 years old. He spends his mornings in a spin class, followed by 90 minutes of yoga. He takes daily naps. His afternoons are devoted to his true passion, training dogs in obedience & agility. Louganis lives in Malibu with 2 Jack Russell terriers, & a border collie.
Louganis is the greatest diver in US athletic history. He broke onto the Olympic scene when he won a silver medal at the age of 16 in the Montreal games of 1976. He went on to win 2 back to back double Olympic gold medals & multiple world championships.
The Husband & I watched in horror as it happened & it was shocking because Louganis was true diving perfection. We love watching Olympic sports & the Husband had just said- "I just love to watch Louganis. He just pierces the water like a dart.”
Louganis’s greatest moments came, ironically, after his worst dive. Seeking another gold medal in the Seoul Olympics of 1988, Louganis attempted a very difficult reverse 2 1/2 pike dive in the preliminary round. During the dive, he struck his head on the board, & suffered a large laceration on his head. Amazingly, despite his concussion, he finished the preliminary round & repeated the dive in the finals, receiving record-setting scores on the way to another gold medal. The performance earned him the ABC Sports’ Athlete of the Year in 1988. Louganis has described the embarrassment & fear that he felt after the aborted dive: "I knew I had a responsibility to tell the doctor about my HIV status as he sewed my head up."
In 1994 Louganis announced to the world that he was gay. In his memoir- Breaking The Surface, published in 1995, he detailed living in a relationship of domestic abuse & rape. His partner threatened to blackmail him if he tried to leave. "I boxed myself into the relationship with my feelings about my HIV status. I thought, `who will touch me?' But I knew that to survive, I had to get out. It was a big step for me to build the self-esteem I needed to have the confidence to leave." It was in that book that he disclosed to the world that he was HIV positive, having been diagnosed a few months before the Seoul Games. Most of his corporate sponsors dropped him as a client when they heard the news of his HIV status. Swimsuit manufacturer- Speedo was the only exception & retained him as an endorser of their swimwear until 2007.
Louganis tours the country speaking about issues that affected him throughout his life: HIV, chronic depression, learning disabilities & diversity (he is Samoan & Scandinavian). Louganis also travels around with other athletes including Peggy Fleming, Bruce Jenner & Jackie Joyner-Kersee as they discuss living with long term illnesses. Louganis says he wants to be remembered as more than an athlete: “I want to be remembered as a strong& graceful diver, but as a person, I want to be remembered as someone who made a difference.”