Up Close and Personal with
Olympic Gold Medalist
by Carlin Langley
St. Louis played a very pivotal point in the life of Olympic
diving champion, Greg Louganis, 5 years ago when he made
a speech following his participation in the Gay Games. Greg encouraged the United States
Olympic Committee to move one of the events for the Atlanta Olympics from being held in
Cobb County, Georgia, due to the fact that the county had denounced homosexuality
openly. It was the first time he had "come out" and publicly pronounced his sexual
orientation, and had taken a controversial stand.
Greg was in St. Louis again this month, participating in an event for the St. Louis Effort For
Aids held early on a Saturday morning to promote healthy living and the importance of
exercise, whether you are HIV positive or negative. Since writing his book, "Breaking the
Surface" which was published in 1994, Greg has been pursuing a career in acting, doing
motivational speaking, and making personal appearances. He has a movie coming out soon
named "He Touched Me", which he describes as a little independent film about HIV and a
love story. He has also been encouraging young divers following in his footsteps, giving them
pointers on relaxation, preparation, and techniques which allowed him to surpass his
competition. Greg said he is now very healthy and is stable, in spite of being HIV+, and has
been for quite some time now.
I asked Greg what his current "status" was relationship-wise. At the end of his book, Greg
was starting to search for a partner. Since then, he has indeed found one, and they've been
together for a couple of years now. I asked him what his most significant achievement has
been in his life and he replied, "So far, the book! Getting the book done and out there where
it has made a difference in the lives of so many people without a doubt. The medals are, the
medals. They're in a closet somewhere. One of them is at the Ryan White foundation. I
gave it to Jeanne. The medals and the Olympics are in the record books and that sort of
thing, but in the whole scheme of things, the book seemed to make a difference. We were 5
weeks at number one!"
I then asked him, "What about Greg Louganis would surprise people that you've never
revealed before, but have always wanted to be asked?" He said, "You've got to be kidding?
Are you serious? What haven't I revealed?? I think I covered everything there is to tell in the
book! I have a new book, the Canine Care Book, that's going to be a surprise to some
people, just because some people might think it's out of left field, but it really isn't. I've been
very active with dogs for many years. I've been very active with PAWS for many years.
I've been in touch with them here in St. Louis. In Los Angeles, I've done animal grooming
for PAWS, going to people's homes to groom their animals. And sometimes, it's how we
find out that there's a problem, by going into their homes to take care of the animals, we
sometimes find out that they have needs too."
Having met so many stellar celebrities and important people through his Olympic
accomplishments, I thought it might be interesting to find out who Greg most looked up to
and respected out of all the people he has met. His response surprised me! "Rosie.. she's
such a buddy. I've known her for years. I met her when she was a VJ for VH-1 and when
she was doing stand up comedy. Her and Oprah, I admire for their drive. I admire their
determination and self-direction. It's something I'm working on myself, is self-direction.
That's probably the one thing I admire most about those two women, is self-direction and
the things they do with it. Alot of people waste it, but they do so much with it. They both
have that forum where they can make a difference and they do it! I really admire that in
It was an honor meeting a man like Greg Louganis.
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