Homo History 101: Summer Olympics Edition

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 

Greg Louganis: (1960) is an American Olympic diver, LGBT-rights activist and author who won gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games on both the springboard and platform. He is the only male and the second diver in Olympic history to sweep the diving events in consecutive Olympic Games.

At sixteen Louganis took part in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, where he placed second in the tower event, behind Italian sport legend Klaus Dibiasi.  Louganis was a favorite for two golds in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, but an American boycott of the games prevented him from participating. At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Louganis won gold medals in both the springboard and tower diving events.

He repeated his 1984 feat in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, despite suffering a concussion after his head struck the springboard during the preliminary rounds. He completed the preliminaries despite his injury, earning the highest single score of the qualifying round for his next dive and repeated the dive during the finals, earning the gold medal by a margin of 25 points.  In the 10m finals, he won the gold medal, performing a 3.4 difficulty dive in his last attempt, earning 86.70 points for a total of 638.61

Related: Homo History 101: The Scientists Edition

At the time of the 1988 accident, Louganis did not disclose to the public that he was HIV positive, a diagnosis he had received six months before the Olympics. His doctor placed him on the antiretroviral drug AZT, which he took every four hours round-the-clock.

As expected of the culture at that time, most of his corporate sponsors dropped him as a client when his HIV status was announced in 1995. The exception was swimsuit manufacturer Speedo, which retained him as an endorser of its products until 2007. Louganis was among the first class of inductees into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame on August 2, 2013.

 

2008 Summer Olympics: In the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, only 11 athletes out of the 10,708 participants were openly LGB including:

    Matthew Mitcham (Australia, diving)

    Judith Arndt (Germany, cycling)

    Imke Duplitzer (Germany, fencing)

    Gro Hammerseng (Norway, handball)

    Katja Nyberg (Norway, handball)

    Natasha Kai (U.S., soccer)

    Lauren Lappin (U.S., softball)

    Victoria Sandell Svensson (Sweden, soccer)

    Rennae Stubbs (Australia, tennis)

    Linda Bresonik (Germany, soccer)

    Vicky Galindo (U.S., softball, bisexual)

 

Only one of them, Matthew Mitcham (who also won a gold medal), was male. Mitcham gained media coverage in Australia as reporters thought he was the first Australian to compete in the Olympics as an openly gay person at the time.

However, Mathew Helm, the Australian diver who won the silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics  in the men's 10m platform, had publicly announced he was gay before the Olympics began. Other notable gay Australian Olympians include Ji Wallace, who competed at the 2000 Summer Olympics and won a silver medal in the inaugural trampoline event; however, he came out after the Games.

Related: Homo History 101: "Erin Go Bragh" Edition

2012 Summer Olympics: The organizers of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London  were the first in Olympic history to include a commitment to diversity in its bid, making it the most gay-friendly games to date. The organizers publicly supported pro-LGBT concerns during the lead-up to the Games, such as during Pride London  2010, when special pins featuring the Games' emblem and a rainbow flag  were sold as part of a wider range celebrating various aspects of diversity. LOCOG chief executive Paul Deighton stated that "Our vision is as bold as it is simple – to use the power of the Games to inspire change. We want to reach out to all parts of the community and connect them with London 2012."

A slightly larger number of LGBT athletes competed at London in 2012, with 23 out of more than 10,000 competitors, and only three gay men. Outsports co-founder Jim Buzinski considered it to be an "absurdly low number," and considered that in comparison to the arts, politics or business worlds, "sports is still the final closet in society."


Like us on Facebook

  • Latest Comments

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS