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Chris Chase

Catching up with five-time Olympic medalist Greg Louganis

Chris Chase
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Greg Louganis won four Olympic golds and five world championships during his illustrious diving career. During the 1988 Olympic springboard competition he hit his head on the board and suffered a concussion but still returned to win gold, capping one of the most memorable comebacks in the history of the Games. In 1995, Louganis revealed he was HIV positive. The New York Times caught up with the diving great, who recently returned to the sport as a juniors coach. Some interesting tidbits from the piece:

1. Louganis accepted a job with SoCal divers four months ago only after being assured that he could implement his "building blocks mentality," which keeps a focus on mechanics. It's the first coaching he's done since 1976, when he helped out his high school team after returning from the Montreal Games.

2. The diver threw himself a "spectacular party" when he turned 33 because he expected it to be his last birthday. Eighteen years later he says his health is so good "you kind of forget about it."

3. He appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" last month to discuss the 1995 show in which he revealed he was gay. Also appearing on that show was a man who said that Louganis' appearance on Oprah, which he saw when he was 12 years old, helped give him the courage to live his life as an openly gay man.

4. Before returning to coaching, Louganis was spending his time training dogs for agility competitions. A former Olympic teammate said Louganis' work with the dogs helps him give clear commands to his divers.

5. Up until returning to coach, Louganis said he didn't dive. His Malibu house didn't even have a diving board at the pool. That's evidently changed. The Times article concludes with a description of the diving great getting on the board during a break in practice and performing pikes that "barely caused a splash."

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