Greg Louganis is considered to be one of the world’s best divers. He’s a five-time World Champion, won 47 national championship titles and was the first man to win two Gold Medals in diving in two consecutive Olympiads. Louganis became a United States national treasure when he won a silver medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympics on platform at the tender age of 16. He qualified for springboard and platform for the 1980 Olympics, which were boycotted, and went on to be the first male diver to get double gold in springboard and platform in the 1984 Los Angeles and 1988 Seoul Olympics.
1988 was not only the year Louganis made Olympic history, but also the year he tested positive for HIV. After coming to terms with his diagnosis, Louganis collaborated with Eric Marcus to write his autobiography Breaking the Surface, which spent five weeks at number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Audiences learn of a man breaking free of a lifetime of silence and isolation. Louganis reveals the strenuous work he put in to reach ultimate athletic success, but his mental health issues, lack of confidence and self-worth kept him from true happiness. It was only after coming out as an HIV-positive gay man that he was able to find peace and start to help others fighting personal battles.
The success of the book landed him interviews with Barbara Walters and Oprah Winfrey, was made into the popular Showtime movie Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story starring Mario Lopez and lead to his second book, For the Life of Your Dog. With Co-Author Betsy Siino, he wrote a canine care book from birth to death and everything in between for the conscientious owner.
Greg's return as a mentor in the sport has spawned an Emmy-nominated HBO Sports documentary, Back on Board, which follows Greg Louganis from his rise from a difficult upbringing to nearly universal acclaim as the greatest diver ever, and from pioneering openly gay athlete with HIV to an overlooked sports icon. It is the engrossing story of an American legend as he re-emerges on the world stage to combat prejudice, promote tolerance, and return to the diving world after a long period of absence to act as a mentor to the next generation.
Louganis has set up a scholarship fund with GLBTQ Online High School to help Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth to get an education in a safe environment. He also co-owns a non-profit organization, Greg Louganis; Positively Pet Fund, which help patients living with HIV/AIDS with their pet care needs. Louganis continues to speak nationally and was part of the MEDCO Tour of Champions, a very select group of standout Olympians (2007/2008).
Today, Greg Louganis speaks out on the obstacles he has overcome with a warmth and grace that embody the Olympic spirit. A popular speaker for universities, community associations, healthcare organizations, and corporate groups, his honest message of acceptance and understanding has inspired millions around the world.
Sharing the wisdom gained from successfully facing and conquering dramatic challenges while under the glare of the public eye, Greg is widely regarded as a skilled inspirational and motivational speaker. One of the most accomplished Olympians in history, yet both humble and warm, his keynote addresses have inspired at professional, educational and athletic events the world over.
On behalf of all of us I want to thank you once again. It was a pleasure meeting you and having you in Chicago to share your story. It was also wonderful to have you join us for dinner, I know everyone enjoyed themselves and hope you did the same.
Greg was fantastic and so sweet. The event was wonderful. We had 199 people and they all loved Greg. I read Greg’s article today in the Huffington Post. We couldn’t pay for that kind of press. Please thank him for all of us here at Open Door.
Yesterday's event was just beyond phenomenal, and employees will be talking about it for a long time!
Thank you for going above and beyond in helping Capital City AIDS Fund (CCAF) carry the message. Your open heart shines through and Sacramento is a better place tonight because of you.