Relive Greg Louganis’ Diving Triumph at the 1988 Olympic Games

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Greg Louganis at the 1988 Olympic Games. Photo Courtesy: Korea Herald / ISHOF Archive

Greg Louganis is widely considered as one of the greatest divers in the history of the sport. He won four gold medals and one silver across three Olympic Games (without including the 1980 Olympic boycott).

Louganis was the first (and only) male diver to ever win both springboard and platform diving golds in consecutive Olympic Games. His 3m springboard gold medal in 1988 is perhaps what he is most known for, having hit the board with his head in the preliminaries.

On September 19, 1988, Louganis hit his head in the ninth round of the preliminaries, causing him to bleed and need stitches. He was able to finish the round in third place and went on to win the gold medal to become the first man to win back-to-back golds in the 3m springboard ever.

At the time, Louganis had been HIV positive but very few people knew, including his coach Ron O’Brien, who helped smuggle his medication into Seoul. Louganis revealed seven years later that he had been HIV positive at the time of the Games. Ultimately, no one else at the Games was affected.

Louganis became the first man in 56 years to win two Olympic gold medals in diving when he won the 3m and platform in 1984. Louganis became the first man to win double gold medals for diving in two consecutive Olympic Games, a feat duplicated only once in Olympic history by women’s champion Pat McCormick in 1952-1956. He was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1993.

Louganis is still one of the most well-known divers today, having appeared on a Wheaties cereal box in 2016 and was also featured in ESPN The Magazine’s “The Body Issue” in 2016.

7 comments

  1. Jody Dykes

    Most amazing diver ever!

  2. Colm Joyce

    A Hero in Seoul,cracking his skull and continuing on was something else!

  3. Thomas A. Small

    He was a great DIVER congratulations Greg

  4. Trudy Marais

    Oh man what a star! A brilliant diver!