Olympic gold medal diver Greg Louganis took the diving world by storm after taking home gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics. Now, the 52-year-old is a mentor to U.S. Olympic divers and will be with the team in London.
Louganis talked to Parade about his most memorable Olympic moment, how he's been doing since revealing his HIV-positive status in 1995, and the work he's doing with the current Olympic team.
On mentoring the U.S. Olympic divers.
"I'm not coaching, I'm mentoring, so I'm working with the athletes and coaches on communication between the two and also their approach to competitions. A lot of stuff that we'll also discuss is what happens outside of the pool: their careers, looking ahead to planning for the future, and all that stuff. It's true mentoring. It's taking in the whole person and not just the athlete."
On the London team.
"We've got a few people who've been at the Olympics, so the experience is good. I'm going over to London and I'm very excited. This is going to be the first summer Olympics that I've gone to since Atlanta in 1996."
On his favorite Olympic memory.
"It was a culmination of a decade of training in that last Olympic event, which was men's 10-meter platform. That really was a crowning moment in my diving career because by that time, the Chinese had caught up to me and I was holding on by the skin of my teeth and it was tough. I was diagnosed HIV-positive six months prior, and my couch smuggled my HIV medication into the country because had they known, I wouldn't have been able to compete. I'm sure I would have been escorted out of the country."
On how's he's doing today.
"I'm doing good. My health has been pretty stable lately. I've had my ups and downs, but for the most part, I don't put a whole lot of energy into my HIV. I take my meds in the morning, I take my meds in the evening, and I basically go about the business of living. That's how I operate."
On whether or not it's easier to be an openly gay athlete today.
"I think it's easier. I don't know if that holds true in team sports because you have to have the team behind you in order to be successful, but individual sports, I think it's more open. There's Matthew Mitcham from Australia, he's an openly gay athlete who's competing. He's a good kid."
On getting back on the board.
I don't get on the boards very often, but the kids I mentor talk me into getting my suit on every once and awhile. I don't get to a pool very often. I do spin and yoga to stay fit. I usually travel with my mat so I can stay active. I love the meditation of it."
On what it means to be an Olympian.
"It was my father's dream before it was my dream. My father was Greek and he just loved the Olympics because of the Greek connection. Once I realized that there was a possibility for me to be an Olympian, it became my dream."
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