Gregory (“Greg”) Efthimios Louganis was born on 29 January, 1960 in El Cajon, California, USA. Greg is an American diver, who is best known for winning back-to-back Olympic titles in both the 3m and 10m diving events. Greg received the James E. Sullivan Award from the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in 1984 as the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. Greg is of Samoan/Swedish descent and was raised in California by his adoptive parents, a Greek-American couple.
At age 16, he took part in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, where he placed second in the tower event, behind Italian Klaus Dibiasi. Two years later, with Dibiasi retired, Greg went on to win his first world title in the same event.
In 1978, he accepted a diving scholarship to the University of Miami where he studied theater, but in 1981 transferred to the University of California, Irvine, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts.
The rise of the Chinese to dominance in the sport is in part attributable to Greg, as the Chinese coaches filmed and studied his performances assiduously, and built their national approach to diving on the mechanics they were able to discern in his technique, and upon their communications with leading coaches such as Hobie Billingsley.
Greg was a favorite for two golds in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, but an American boycott of the games prevented him from participating.
Greg won 2 world titles in 1982, and in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, with record scores and leads over his opponents. Greg won gold medals in both the springboard and tower diving events.
After winning 2 more world championship titles in 1986, he repeated his 1984 feat in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, although not without difficulties. In what is considered one of the greatest feats in sporting history, Greg suffered an injury, hitting his head on the diving board during the preliminary rounds while performing a reverse 2 1/2 pike; he completed the preliminaries, despite a concussion, then went on to repeat the dive during the finals, with nearly perfect scores, earning him the gold medal. Greg’s comeback earned him the title of ABC’s Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year for 1988.
Greg posed nude for Playgirl magazine in 1987.
In 1994, Greg announced he was gay; he took part in the 1994 Gay Games as diving announcer, and performed an exhibition of several dives to a standing-room only crowd of nearly 3,000 spectators.
In 1995, Greg’s autobiography co-written with Eric Marcus, entitled Breaking the Surface, was published. Greg revealed publicly the domestic abuse and rape he suffered from a live-in lover and that he was HIV-positive. The announcement caused some controversy because of the belief, as expressed by then-United States Olympic Committee executive director Dr. Harvey Schiller, that he should have disclosed his HIV status during the 1988 Olympic games because his diving board injury resulted in light bleeding. Greg had agonized over whether to disclose his status but was later advised by AIDS expert Dr. Anthony Fauci that the injury posed no danger of infection to fellow competitors.
Following the announcement of his HIV status, Greg was dropped by most of his corporate sponsors, with the exception of the aquatics gear manufacturer Speedo, which continued to sponsor him as of 2007.
A 1997 made-for-television movie, Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story, based on the book, starred Mario López as Greg.
In 1999, Greg’s second book, For the Life of Your Dog (co-authored by Betsy Sikora Siino) was published.
Since retiring from competitive diving, Greg has done some acting, most notably appearing in an off-Broadway production of the Paul Rudnick play Jeffrey. As a hobby, he competes at the top level of dog agility with his Jack Russell Terriers. Greg is also the former boyfriend of former E! television personality Steve Kmetko.
Greg was briefly mentioned in the 2005 hit film The Longest Yard. The character Caretaker mentioned Greg whilst explaining Crewe’s, another character, chances of winning a game of 1-on-1 Basketball with D.
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