In the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games, Greg Louganis became the first male diver ever to sweep the diving events – the three-meter springboard and 10-meter platform – in consecutive Olympic Games. But the way in which Louganis achieved this feat makes it even more impressive.
It was during the preliminary dives in the three-meter competition that Louganis smacked his head off the platform while attempting a 2 ½ reverse somersault in a tuck position. Louganis, though bloodied and having sustained a concussion, was able to get out of the pool on his own power and still qualified for the finals.
In the platform finals one week later, Louganis showed no signs of fear, going for a 3 ½ reverse somersault in a tuck position – the so-called Dive of Death that took the life of Russian diver Sergei Chalibashvili at the 1983 University Games, when Louganis was climbing up the tower as the next diver. Louganis, though, nailed the dive and soon had four gold medals on his resume – an accomplishment that was even more amazing when considering that Louganis would have been a heavy favorite for two more medals except for the U.S. boycott of the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games.
Louganis’s career was nothing short of spectacular. At age 16, he won the silver medal in the 10-meter platform competition. At the 1982 World Championships, he became the first diver ever to score a perfect 10 from all seven judges. At the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games, he cruised to a pair of gold medals. He finished his career with 47 national championships and 13 world championships.
Louganis, who has gained notoriety as an LGBTQ activist, was a mentor to the U.S. Diving Team at the 2012 London Games and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.