#100Momentsin100Days Greg Louganis Perfect Dive

Olympics

ByTheMinRio2016

The journey to achieve the perfect dive as you would imagine is not an easy one. In 1988 American Greg Louganis was, to all looking on, a dedicated and supremely talented athlete, double gold medalist 4 years earlier and favourite to defend his titles in the 3m springboard and 10m platform. But the story of what was going on behind the scenes makes his achievement so much more remarkable.

In the 80s attitudes were somewhat different to today and being openly gay was something that could easily see you removed from the USA Olympic team. I'm not kidding. Thankfully for our Tom times have changed. I have spent some time researching the best photos for this story😉

So Greg Louganis remained silent about his sexuality, although there were rumours aplenty. Shockingly his face was even omitted from gracing the front of breakfast cereal boxes 'Wheaties' who famously use US sports heroes on their packaging. Greg "did not meet their wholesome demographics"!

Shortly before the Olympics in Seoul Louganis discovered that his parner had AIDS, got himself tested and was found to be HIV+. At that time it was a fairly new disease and little could be done to slow its progress. Greg's coach and a select few knew the truth and smuggled his drugs into South Korea as he would certainly have been prevented from competing were his HIV status known.

Louganis was taking antiretroviral medication every 4 hours and hardly sleeping. He has since said "I didn't think I would live". So with all this going on the 3m Springboard competition begins.

Louganis was diving beautifully until his third dive. He bounced high and got into his lovely pike position but as his body unfurled to enter the water the back of his head smacked the board and he hit the water almost horizontally on his back.

Here's the video of the sickening moment but I don't really recommend that you watch it. Especially as it cuts to another clip of him hitting his head on the concrete platform a few years earlier and its even worse.

Fortunately there was a delay in the bleeding from the 1.5inch wound. Louganis had alread got some good dives in and having been stitched up by the team doctor (not wearing gloves and unaware of Louganis being HIV+) he was left with a little bald patch. 10 minutes later he emerged to complete his final 2 dives and qualify for the final in 3rd place.

Louganis returned the next day for the final. His confidence was shaken but his performance was unaffected and he comfortably took gold.

With a couple of days break Greg re-gathered himself for the 10m platform competition. This was more of a challenge as in the final he was seriously challenged by a 14 year old sensation from China called Xiong Ni.