Happy Birthday to Olympic champ Greg Louganis!
Happy 52nd birthday to Greg Louganis, one of the greatest Olympic athletes in history who overcame great obstacles in his life to reach the top of his sport and who remains an inspirational figure for so many.
Greg’s story means so much to me because I was coming out in a big way in the mid-90s and it was then that he also came out and wrote a deeply-felt memoir called Breaking the Surface in which he revealed that he had been HIV positive when he won his third and fourth gold medals at the 1988 Olympics.
I interviewed Greg back in 2010 (that’s us pictured below at the Pantages Theatre) and he had a lot to say about HIV awareness.
When Greg announced that he was HIV-positive in the mid-90s, there were not yet the drugs available that prevent the disease from being a death sentence. But, he said, the breakthroughs are no reason to not remain vigilant.
“Sure, we’ve made great strides with medications and treatments. But what I try and share with young people is all the hardships. I wouldn’t wish my drug regiment on anyone. I swallow a lot of pills and the side effects from the medications are not pleasant.”
“The things that I’ve had to go through and endure and in and out of the hospital and that sort of thing. Yes, Magic Johnson and myself, we’re out and about, we’re active and we’re doing good things but it doesn’t mean that the disease is manageable. I can’t stress it enough how important it is to be responsible. It’s something that they can avoid! We’ve learned this through education and we’re trying to get that through to young people who think that they’re indestructible.”
On another note, there is a Facebook page campaigning for Greg to be asked to participate in Dancing With the Stars. He’d be an excellent choice and if you want to join the effort, here is a LINK to the Facebook page.