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Greg Louganis - Breaking The Surface

ryan aids life reporter

The Ryan White story was impossible to miss, and it really caught my attention. I first saw Ryan on CNN. I was really impressed by this kid who had gone to court to go to school…. Ryan was sick, but instead of people having compassion for him, they were terrified that he'd spread AIDS by going to school. I thought if I showed I wasn't afraid of Ryan, then maybe others would follow my example.

As oblivious as I was in those days, I knew of course that most of the people who suffered from HIV and AIDS discrimination were gay men. There was no other way I felt I could get involved in the issue of AIDS without risking some reporter asking questions about my life. Helping Ryan was a way of lending my name and stature to the AIDS cause without having anyone get suspicious. And then I met Ryan and my life changed….

Despite his maturity, Ryan was still a teenager. Later, when we did press interviews together, he'd keep me in stitches by making faces at me from behind the reporter's back. But he never failed to impress me with his intelligence and his perseverance…. I was amazed at how he handled himself, whether it was one-on-one or on national television. He was—and is—an inspiration.

Source: Greg Louganis and Eric Marcus, Breaking the Surface, New York: Rand House, 1995, pp. 170-171.

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