Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis mentors young divers in Rio
RIO DE JANEIRO (KSNV) - He's considered the greatest diver of all time: Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis. Louganis is in Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games to mentor young divers, often sounding more like a wise sage than an Olympic star.
He told news crews, "We are all put on this Earth for a reason. Just be true to yourself."
Louganis, who first became known in his early teens as a champion diver, now lives his diving career in news reels from the 1980s. For him, the "juice" is all about seeing other divers succeed.
"Mentoring, to have an impact on a young child, shape their future self-esteem, that is huge," said Louganis.
His advice for those on the diving board has everything to do with a belief that every room has energy, and to channel the energy like a swimmer channels water through hands.
"When you go into the Olympic venue, there is an energy that is palatable. If you interpret that energy in the wrong way, you are apt to implode. But if you interpret that energy as inspiration, realizing every single person in that auditorium wants to see you succeed, you will win," he said.
U.S. collegiate diver Brandon Rosolowski is one of the young athletes Louganis mentored in Rio.
Rosolowski, bolstered by Louganis' advice in Rio, said, "He’s a mentor for the US. diving team and young kids ... it means a lot."
Louganis is also forthright about HIV and AIDS, being married to his husband, and why, when he decided to come out, it was a game changer.
"By sharing my perceived weaknesses, I was actually sharing my strength," said Louganis.
Part of the champion diver's strength is in knowing he's benefiting others. Louganis has given away his medals. Of note, he gave one to the mother of Ryan White, whose struggle with acceptance as a child with AIDS garnered international furor. Another medal now belongs to one of Louganis' coaches.