Greg Louganis is one of America’s great Olympic heroes; arguably the greatest diver in Olympic history.
By 16, he had won his first Olympic medal, a silver medal on the platform in 1976. At 24, he became the first man in 56 years to win two gold medals in diving by winning both the platform and springboard events. In 1988, competing against divers half his age, he became the first to win double gold medals for diving in two consecutive Olympics. He is a five-time World Champion and holds 47 National Championship titles. At the Pan Am Games, he earned six gold medals, and in 1985, he was awarded the Sullivan Award as the “Nation’s most outstanding amateur athlete.”
Greg was the first to score more than 700 points in a diving competition under the old scoring system and is still the only one to accomplish that feat at an Olympics.
And what many people remember about Greg is that he went on to win Olympic Gold at the 1988 Games despite striking the back of his head on the springboard during the preliminaries. He attempted a reverse 2½ somersault pike in the ninth round of the prelims, hit his head on the board and fell into the water. Thirty-five minutes later, after receiving stitches to his scalp, he resumed diving. The following day, he hit all 11 dives and easily won the Olympic gold.
At the 1988 Olympic Games, he was awarded the Maxwell House/United States Olympic Committee Spirit Award as the Olympic athlete who had best exhibited the ideals of the Olympic spirit, demonstrated extraordinary courage and contributed significantly to the sport. Greg is more than just a diver; he stands out as a human being as well.
As an LGBT and HIV activist, Greg has used his celebrity and fame to help bring awareness to these causes with grace and integrity, and now he will be the “Divemaster” on ABC’s new show “Splash.” In the show, 10 celebrities will train and compete in regulation platform and springboard diving in front of a weekly poolside audience.
Louganis joined me for a chat #InTheLab this week to talk about his new role as the Divemaster, his inspirational journey from champion to activist, working with current Olympic champion David Boudia (who’s also a judge on the ABC show), what to expect from the show’s participants, and more.