Out Olympian Greg Louganis has credited
Australian diver Matthew Mitcham for the record number of out LGBT
athletes competing in the Rio Olympics.
Louganis dominated diving in the early
80s. He came out gay and HIV-positive in his 1988 best-selling
memoir Breaking the Surface.
Recently, General Mills put Louganis on
a box of Wheaties as part of its revamped “legends” series, an
honor he was denied while competing.
In an interview with gay glossy The
Advocate from Rio, Louganis said that the Wheaties box means more
to him today because he's out.
“It means more to me now, being
presented the Wheaties box, because had I been on the Wheaties box
back in the day, they would have been celebrating an athlete,”
said. “And now, being on the Wheaties box today, I'm a gay man
living with HIV and I feel like I'm being embraced as a whole person,
instead of just as an athlete.”
When asked about the record number –
at last count – of out athletes competing in the Rio Olympics,
Louganis credited Olympian Matthew Mitcham, who came out just before
competing in the 2008 Olympics.
“I really kind of tip my hat to
Matthew Mitcham, because he really started the whole thing and he was
still competing,” Louganis said. “And the way that he explained
it was he felt he couldn't compete on that high a level only sharing
a part of himself. And I admire that so much.”