Gregory ‘Greg’ Efthimios Louganis (born January 29, 1960 in California ) is a five-time Olympic medalist and is widely considered the greatest diver in history. Among the most iconic images of any Olympic Games, is that of Louganis hitting his head on the springboard before he won gold in 1988. He is the only male ever to win gold medals on both 10m and 3m in consecutive Olympic Games (’84 and ’88). He is a five-time world champion and has 47 national titles, more than anyone in US history.
Louganis is also known for his work as an Actor, Dancer, Dog Trainer, Speaker, Aids Activist, Equality and Diversity Activist.
Louganis began competing in diving at age 9. 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 2 Gold medals in Diving by winning both the platform and springboard events.
At the Pan America Games, he earned 6 Gold Medals, and in 1985, he was awarded the Sullivan Award as the “Nation’s Most Outstanding Amateur Athlete.”
Louganis was the first to score over 700 points in a diving competition under the old scoring system and is still the only one to accomplish that feat at an Olympics. However, what most people remember about Louganis, is 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, and hit his head on the board and fell into the water. Thirty-five minutes later, after receiving stitches to his scalp wound, he resumed diving. The following day, he hit all 11 dives and easily won the Olympic Gold Medal.
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.
Since his retirement from diving in 1989, Greg has been an active advocate for a number of issues important to him, such as dyslexia, mental health and addiction, LGBT rights, and HIV/AIDS.
Ahead of the 1995 publication of his memoir, Breaking the Surface, Louganis announced that he is gay and HIV+ on national television during interviews with Barbara Walters and Oprah Winfrey. His book remained at the top of the New York Times Best Sellers list for five weeks. A dog agility expert, he is also the author of For the Love of Your Dog.
Louganis has also had acting success in New York with appearances in Theater, Film and Television:
- Broken Record (Television)
- Mighty Ducks 2 (Film)
- Touch Me (Film)
- Guarding Eddie (Film)
- Watercolors (Film)
- Jeffrey (Theatre)
- The Only Thing Worse You Could Have Told Me (Theatre)
- 30 for 30: “Tim Richmond: To the Limit” (Television Documentary for ESPN)
In October 2012, on behalf of the US State Department, he was the Guest of Honor at the Blue Diamond Society’s LGBTI Sports Festival in Nepal, which was the first event of its kind in South Asia. He participated in the organization’s human rights conference, met with Nepalese government officials and HIV/AIDS activists, and visited a local school.
Despite all his hard work in other areas of life, Louganis still finds time to give back to the diving world. This summer, he was a mentor to the US Olympic 2012 Diving team, taking personal time to talk to the athletes, and support them as they trained for the biggest moment of their lives.
In addition to his role as an ambassador for USA Diving, he is a judge on the Red Bull Cliff Diving Tour. He is also the subject of a documentary film, Back on Board, and will soon star in ABC’s new reality series, Celebrity Splash (working title).
Through acts as great as those described above and as small as cleaning up litter off the street as he goes for a walk – he daily lives his life’s maxim: “to make every place better because he was there.”
Highlights & Awards:
- Inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1993.
- After his tremendous performance in 1988, he received the Maxwell House/United States Olympic Committee Spirit Award as the athlete who had best exhibited the ideas of the Olympic spirit, demonstrated extraordinary courage and contributed significantly to his sport.
- ABC’s Sportsmen of the Year in 1988 and ESPN named him to their Sports Century Retrospective, “Greatest North American Athletes of the Twentieth Century,” claiming he is one of the only athletes who can be called the greatest ever in his sport.
- Awarded the Jesse Owens Award in 1987 by the International Amateur Athletic Association, naming him the top amateur athlete in the world.
- Inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame in 1985
- Awarded the AAU’s prestigious James E. Sullivan Award in 1984 for outstanding achievements, which is given annually to America’s best amateur athlete.
- Greg Louganis Autobiography: “Breaking the Surface” was on New York Times best sellers list for 5 consecutive weeks
- Olympic Games Medal List: Silver – 1976 Montreal – 10m Platform |Gold – 1984 Los Angeles – 3m Springboard |Gold – 1984 Los Angeles – 10m Platform |Gold – 1988 Seoul – 3m Springboard |Gold – 1988 Seoul – 10m Platform
- World Championships Medal List: Gold – 1978 Berlin – 10m Platform | Gold – 1982 Guayaquil – 3m Springboard |Gold – 1982 Guayaquil – 10m Platform |Gold – 1986 Madrid – 3m Springboard |Gold – 1986 Madrid – 10m Platform
- Pan American Games Medal List: Gold – 1979 San Juan – 3m Springboard |Gold – 1979 San Juan – 10m Platform |Gold – 1983 Caracas – 3m Springboard |Gold – 1983 Caracas – 10m Platform |Gold – 1987 Indianapolis – 3m Springboard |Gold – 1987 Indianapolis – 10m Platform
- Summer Universiade Medal List: Gold – 1983 Edmonton – 3m Springboard |Gold – 1983 Edmonton – 10m Platform
Greg Louganis is known to be one of the best Divers in the World!