Olympic Icon Greg Louganis: ‘Put Me on DWTS!’
January 29, 2010
Diving legend Greg Louganis has never backed away from a challenge.
He won four Olympic gold medals despite obstacles including a rough childhood, an abusive relationship, addictions to pills and alcohol and a devastating HIV diagnosis in 1988.
These days Louganis — who turns 50 today — is healthy, happy and ready for another kind of challenge: “I want to be on Dancing with the Stars,” he tells PEOPLE. “It would be such a blast.”
Known for his graceful dives (and the horrifying moment when he bashed his head on a diving board at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, requiring stitches), Louganis also danced as a child — and was teased about it by other kids, who also taunted him over his dyslexia and dark skin tone (adopted by Greek-American parents, his birth father is Samoan).
Yet Louganis, who revealed his painful past and talked openly about his sexuality and HIV status in his 1995 memoir Breaking the Surface, has thrived. Living in Malibu, Calif., with partner Daniel McSwiney, 46, his passion for diving has been replaced by his love of his dogs, whom he trains for agility competitions.
Now what Louganis wants most is to dust off his Dancing shoes — and show off some moves of his own.
“I don’t know about the outfits, but I’ve worn worse,” laughs Louganis, who as a child wore “sequins, headbands and poofy sleeves” for jazz routines. “I’ve never done ballroom but I want to try … Dance really captures something you just can’t put into words.” – Alexis Chiu
For more on Louganis — including how he stays healthy, his struggles with addiction, and his devotion to his dogs — check out the issue of PEOPLE on stands now.