The Olympic champion dishes about dogs, diving and dreaming of playing a ninja.
Gold medalist and five-time world champion Greg Louganis, 52, comes to Boston on Aug. 25 as a judge on the only U.S. stop in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, which takes place at the Institute of Contemporary Art in South Boston. A native of San Diego, Louganis’ diving career included a silver and four gold medals in the Olympics, and 47 national championships, making him one of the foremost amateur athletes in history. In 1988, he famously hit his head on the diving board and received a concussion during the Olympics in Seoul. He’s been a successful actor, speaker, dog trainer and diving coach, and is the author of Breaking the Surface and coauthor of For the Life of Your Dog. As an openly gay man with HIV, he’s an outspoken advocate for GLBTQ rights and HIV treatment and prevention. He lives in Malibu.
Are you going to London for the Olympics?
Yes, I am, but not as a commentator.
Plenty. There was a tradition with Greek soldiers of having a young “assistant.” They had a very different attitude toward sex and sexuality.
I think Matthew Mitcham from Australia was a lot braver, because he came out while he was still competing. I also think that diving is different, in that it’s a solo sport. It takes a lot more courage to come out if you’re doing a team sport, because you need the support of your teammates.
I did for a long time.
Yeah. That’s why I just cut it off.
Ah, no. Once was enough for me. But I did read a rumor that we were dating, and I was like, “Yeah, I wish.” I’d jump on that.
Usually something like, “Do you still have a headache?” If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that…
Platform? I have to say with the Red Bull World Series, Athens was my favorite. After that, probably Yalta.
Dogs are nicer and easier.
Right now, only two. My aunt has the other two.
Yeah! My dogs can dive. They’re really good. Both Jack Russells.
I don’t generally think of it that way, but I guess so. Sergei Shalibashvili died doing a reverse three-and-a-half somersault, so maybe I did.
I’ve got wings.
To be a superhero or a ninja warrior. Something really physical like that. I love the whole flying thing.
Yeah, I did, in The Little Dog Laughed. I was 50 at the time.
Don’t f*** up.
Depends. The girls here get their boobs on their 15th or 16th birthday. But if you hang out with the surfers, it’s a lot more down-to-earth.
I read that, and I was really flattered. Is he straight?
I could give it a try.
Ten meters, but I probably went a little bit higher in Acapulco. I’m going to do a dive on the tour, and I’m trying to figure that out. Maybe a three-and-a-half somersault. I’m thinking in Portugal or Oman…
No way! The water’s too cold.
In a word? Yes.
It’s more of a description. I like when they say “cowboy a dive.” You’re in a tuck with your feet spread apart. Charming visual, huh?
There’s a campaign to get me on it, and I’d love to do that show, but the next season is All-Stars, so I can’t be on that. Maybe the season after, I hope.
It is. But I do have a one-meter platform.
You can jump into the water feet first, right? Just flip it around. And don’t practice in the shallow end.
I haven’t gotten any complaints.