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Greg Louganis - After Diving—and After Tom

Famous Sports StarsDivingGreg Louganis Biography - Talents And Trials, The Young Olympian, Getting The Gold, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments - SELECTED WRITINGS BY LOUGANIS:

After Diving—and After Tom

Retired from diving competitions, Louganis had time to focus on his relationship with "Tom," and what he found was very disturbing. Among other things, he had only $2,000 to his name. Everything else was either in Tom's name or in both of their names. He also suspected that Tom was cheating on him, sometimes with gay youths who wrote him fan letters. Louganis hired a private investigator, who discovered that Tom had been charged with theft, insurance fraud, and even prostitution. After some prolonged negotiations, they agreed to go their separate ways. In fact, Louganis agreed to provide for Tom for the rest of his life, a rather generous settlement given their recent history together.

Free of his "business manager" and retired from diving, Greg Louganis felt somewhat at loose ends. But about this time he rediscovered an old interest of his: acting. He had graduated from the University of California at Irvine with a degree in drama, and now he began to take acting and voice lessons. Already he was doing appearances and commercials for sponsors such as Speedo, but now he began to perform in musicals and in plays such as an off-Broadway production of Jeffrey, about a young man dealing with AIDS. He also got some television roles and movies such as The Mighty Ducks.

At the same time, he decided to come clean about being gay and HIV-positive, which he did in an autobiography, entitled Breaking the Surface. He also appeared at the Gay Games, in June of 1994, where he announced, "It's great to be out and proud." Shortly thereafter he was instrumental in getting the 1996 Olympic volleyball preliminaries moved from Cobb County, Georgia, where county commissioners had recently passed an anti-gay resolution.

Breaking the Surface

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.

Where Is He Now?

Currently, Greg Louganis is focused on acting, speaking engagements, and a relatively new vocation, training dogs. One of his dogs, a Harlequin Great Dane, appeared in the movie Beethoven II. He has also continued his work as an AIDS activist, making speeches throughout the country. He remains healthy, and continues to work out, including a yoga regimen. In contrast, he has largely abandoned diving. In July of 2002 he told a Knight-Ridder reporter that "he hasn't performed a dive in eight or nine years." Still, he remains the man who set the standard for future divers. To date, none have matched his combination of grace and power on the diving board.

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