Greg Louganis — five-time Olympic medalist and the only male in history to sweep both the springboard and platform diving events in consecutive Olympic Games — sat down with Piers Morgan last night on CNN and discussed living with HIV for over 20 years and the sheer terror of his 1988 diagnosis:
LOUGANIS: Back in 1988 when I was diagnosed with HIV, we thought of HIV as a death sentence. My doctor who was also my cousin, he was treating me and he said “the best thing you can do is continue training.” And so it was much more positive to focus on the diving, so that’s what I did. It was really a blessing. But honestly I didn’t think I’d see 30.
Louganis, widely regarded as the best diver of all time, won gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and again at the 1988 Seoul games, where he infamously suffered a concussion during a preliminary round dive. Six months before the ’88 games, Louganis was diagnosed with HIV, but decided to keep it a secret. In the mid 90s, Louganis announced to the world that he was gay and HIV positive, losing most of his corporate sponsorship as a result.
Louganis also reflected on the nuance of having prominent HIV positive figures, such as himself and Magic Johnson, live seemingly normal and healthy lives in the public eye:
LOUGANIS: Well it’s a double-edged sword, you know, because now young kids are seeing us and they’re saying well “they’re alive, thriving” and all that. But I wouldn’t wish my drug regiment on anyone. I mean the things I’ve been through are pretty devastating.