Full Frame: Greg Louganis, US Olympian and Activist

Full Frame

Greg Louganis American Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis discusses his battle with depression, overcoming bullying, his HIV diagnosis and being an outspoken advocate for human rights.

Decades ago, American Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis set records that have yet to be broken. Despite all his professional accomplishments, the iconic athlete and activist faced countless challenges in his personal life. He battled depression, overcame bullying and was diagnosed with HIV.

“In 1988 there was not a whole lot of compassion surrounding HIV,” Louganis remembers. “For a lot of people, they were saying ‘Oh, it’s killing the right people, homosexuals, prostitutes and IV drug users,’ so there was this stigma, this judgement and there wasn’t a whole lot of education or awareness.”

Through it all, he has used his stature as a sports hero to fight bigotry and has become an outspoken advocate for human rights.

Louganis co-authored his autobiography and is the subject of a new documentary that debuted this month. He says, by sharing his stories – and finding his own inner peace – he has helped shift the way many people view those living with HIV.

Olympian and Human Rights Activist: Greg Louganis

Olympian and Human Rights Activist: Greg Louganis

Decades ago, American Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis set records that have yet to be broken. Despite all his professional accomplishments, the iconic athlete and activist faced countless challenges in his personal life. Through it all, he has used his stature as a sports hero to fight bigotry and has become an outspoken advocate for human rights.

Louganis says it’s a transformation that would have been hard to imagine when he was first diagnosed back in 1988.

“I felt like I was sharing my weaknesses,” says Louganis. “But what I learned, on the book tour, was that by sharing my weaknesses, I was actually sharing my strengths.”

Now, after 20 years of being absent from the sport, Louganis is sharing those strengths with the next generation of diving champions as a mentor to the USA Diving National Team.

Louganis recalls, “The one thing that my coach, Ron O’Brian always said was that, ‘the only way they’re going to remember you is through your records, the records that you set.”

Mike Walter sat down with Greg Louganis to discuss his legendary career and his courage in living a life with purpose.

Follow Greg on Twitter: @@GregLouganis