As we’ve mentioned many times, there are a record number of LGBT athletes at the Olympics in Rio this year. But Greg Louganis gives all of the kudos to Australian diver Matthew Mitcham.
Back in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics, Mitcham was the only openly gay Olympian.
Louganis said: “I really kind of tip my hat to Matthew Mitcham, because he really started the whole thing and he was still competing. 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. I thought that’s wonderful. And when he won the gold in Beijing, it was like through the roof.”
Louganis competed in many Olympic games, winning double gold medals in 1984 and then again in 1988. But he was not ready to come out at that time. It was not until the American athlete retired from diving and the games that he was finally prepared to come out.
“I was concerned about coming out because I didn’t want it to be about the gay athlete, the gay diver – that was my concern because the media has a tendency of pushing a headline and labeling,” Louganis says. “It’s individual, everyone is on their own journey … they really have to follow their own path.”
When asked what advice Louganis would give to other athletes struggling with coming out, he said: “I think you’ll find more support than you think.”