Wheaties has announced that four-time
Olympic diving gold medalist Greg Louganis will be featured on a
Wheaties will also honor hurdler Edwin
Moses and swimmer Janet Evans as part of a revamped “legends”
Speaking to NPR's All Things
Considered, Louganis welcomed the recognition.
“[It's] so incredible to be honored
with the likes of Edwin Moses – we were in our first Olympic games
in 1976 together. Janet Evans – we trained at Mission Viejo
together – I watched her grow up,” he said.
Chicago mom Julie Sondgerath said that
she decided to start a change.org petition calling on General Mills
to put Louganis on a Wheaties box after watching the HBO documentary
Back on Board, which follows Louganis as he reunites with
diving, the sport he dominated in the early '80s.
General Mills at the time told
reporters that it had denied Louganis the cover because he did not
meet their “wholesome demographics,” a possible reference to
rumors that Louganis was gay. In his 1995 best-selling memoir
Breaking the Surface, Louganis came out gay and HIV-positive.
General Mills said that Sondgerath's
petition did not factor into their decision.
“We were aware of the petition, as we
see this all the time from fans wanting their favorite athlete on the
box,” General Mills spokesman Mike Siemienas told NPR. “But
appearing on a Wheaties box is not a popularity contest. Wheaties
chooses athletes based on their achievements on and off their field
Louganis, who married husband Johnny
Chaillot in 2013, said that the cover means more to him today than it
would have in the 1980s.
“Back in '95, I wasn't expected to
live very long because we thought of HIV-AIDS as a death sentence, so
to be here today, now 56, the box means so much more to me than it
would have then because I feel like I'm being embraced as a whole
person, not just for my athletic achievements,” he said.