Before Michael Phelps, before Gaby Douglas and Missy Franklin, back in the ’70s and ’80s there was Greg Louganis. He was the Olympian to watch. His near flawless high dives into the pool seemed effortless; he was a pure natural at both the springboard and the platform.
At the age of 16, Louganis competed in his first Olympics in Montreal, Canada (1976), where he placed second in the tower event. In 1984 and 1988 the young diver did something no other male and only one other diver had done in history, he swept the diving events in consecutive Olympic Games. With a total of five metals won over the span of three Olympic Games, four golds and one silver, Louganis was known around the world as the first male diver to earn a perfect 10.
Louganis and 1988 Seoul Olympics
As amazing as his life seems, Louganis has had his fair share of downs, but like a true Olympian he continues to stand tall. At the 1988 Olympic Summer Games held in Seoul, Louganis struck his head on the board mid-dive during the preliminaries for the men’s 3-meter springboard competition. And only 30 minutes after the tragedy and several stitches, Louganis was back at the boards. In an interview he told reporters, ”We worked too long and hard to get there, and I don’t want to give up without a fight.” He won two gold medals that year.
Louganis has always been a fighter. It’s something that’s just in him. He discovered he was HIV-positive before Seoul, and instead of calling it quits he went for one more Olympic game. Six years after the 1988 Olympic Games, he announced his HIV status to the world and came out as gay man.
In one of my favorite biographies, Breaking the Surface, Louganis opens up about his childhood, long hours at the pool, and the fear and emotions that overwhelmed his spirit when he hit his head in Seoul. The novel also goes into his private life and his past relationships. Louganis lost endorsements but he also gained respect.
The Greg Louganis Documentary – ‘Back on Board’
After many years of silence, the man is back and Cheryl Furjanic (director) and Will Sweeney (producer) are here to catch us up on his life in the feature-length documentary Back on Board. We’ll get to see never-before-seen footage of Louganis’ childhood and his timed spent training the divers for the 2012 London Olympic Games. At age 51, the man can still be seen diving off the boards. Check out the trailer below and see exactly what they’re up to:
How Can You Help Out?
Head to the project’s Kickstart campaign page and support them here! There’s only 15 hours left (as of 7:22 p.m. August 21st), and yesterday Sweeney and Furjanic reached their pledge of $50,000 but you can still donate. I’m sure every bit helps. The campaign page goes in more detail about what they’re doing, so I’ll leave something for you to read when you visit.
Once a week Reel Movie Nation will support a Kickstarter project. So join us in supporting our filmmakers and making their stories and films become reality!