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Friday, February 25, 2011

Who is Gregory Efthimios Louganis?

Who is Gregory Efthimios Louganis? The sports and entertainment world knows him as Greg Louganis, he is an American Olympic diver and author. He received the James E. Sullivan Award from the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in 1984 as the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States.

Early life

Louganis was born January 29, 1960 is of Samoan/Swedish descent. He was raised in California by his adoptive parents, a Greek-American couple. He attended Santa Ana High School and Valhalla High School in El Cajon, California.

Diving career

At sixteen Louganis took part in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, where
he placed second in the tower event, behind Italian sport legend Klaus Dibiasi. Two years later, with Dibiasi retired, Louganis won 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.
Louganis was a favorite for two golds in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, but an American boycott of the games prevented him from participating. Louganis won two world diving titles in 1982. In the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, with record scores and leads over his opponents, Louganis won gold medals in both the springboard and tower diving events.
After winning two more world championship titles in 1986, he repeated his 1984 feat in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, although not without difficulties: he suffered a concussion after hitting his head on the springboard during the preliminary rounds while performing a reverse 2½ pike. He completed the preliminaries despite his injury, and went on to repeat a similar dive during the finals, earning the gold medal. In the 10m finals he won the gold medal performing a 3.4 difficulty dive in his last attempt, earning in total 638.61 points, surpassing silver medalist Xiong Ni by only 1.14 points. His comeback earned him the title of ABC's Wide World of Sports "Athlete of the Year" for 1988.

Personal life

Greg Louganis is openly gay and tested positive for HIV in 1988.[1] He recounted his story in a best-selling book Breaking the Surface co-written with Eric Marcus. The book spent five weeks at number one on the New York Times Best Seller list. His story was also documented in the 1996 Showtime movie Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story with Mario Lopez playing the lead and Louganis narrating.

He also produced a video diary called Looking To the Light, which picked up where Breaking the Surface left off. In the years since his diagnosis was made public, Louganis has been an outspoken HIV awareness advocate.
In the late 1980s and 1990s, he took on a number of roles in movies, including Touch Me in 1997 and David Oliveras' debut movie Watercolors in role of Coach Brown, a swimming instructor in a high school.
In September 2000, he appeared on Hollywood Squares as a member of famous Olympic gold medalists "Dream Team", competing in a special week of the nationally-syndicated game show series, broadcast as a tribute to the 2000 Summer Games. The episodes marked the first time that all these champions came together for this kind of television competition.

Dog agility

Louganis currently competes actively in dog agility competitions with his dogs, Dr. Schivago, Captain Woof Blitzer, and Dobby. Most of his current competitors are named for characters in the Harry Potter series.[2] He published his book For the Life of Your Dog co-written with Betty Sicora Siino.


Since November 2010, Louganis has been coaching divers of a wide range of ages and abilities in the SoCal Divers Club in Fullerton, CA.[3]


Films in which Greg Louganis has appeared:
  • Dirty Laundry (1987) as Larry
  • Inside Out III (1992) as Max in the segment "The Wet Dream"
  • Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story (narrator)
  • It's My Party (1996) as Dan Zuma
  • Broken Record (1997 TV movie) as Coach Hill
  • Touch Me (1997) as David
  • Watercolors (2008) as Coach Brown

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