Having made his Olympic comeback as the mentor of team USA’s diving division, Greg Louganis stars in a documentary about a brilliant athlete and a passionate activist whose willpower has been the driving force throughout his life.
It’s impossible to watch a diving competition without flashing back to the moment when Greg Louganis hit his head on the board at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and still managed to come home with two gold medals, becoming a legend in his own right and proclaimed the best diver that ever lived.
It was clear that Gregory Efthimios "Greg" Louganis, the adopted son of Greek-American immigrants, knew how to get back into the game at the exact moment when all odds were against him.
Having been diagnosed with AIDS a few months before the 1988 Olympics, he waited a few years before going public with his condition in one of the most successful shows Oprah Winfrey has ever had, coming out of the closet and owning up to the virus, which not only won him the respect of the queer community but the respect of everyone who saw his story as a prime example of sheer willpower.
The rest is history, as Louganis became a symbol amongst openly queer athletes the world over, especially after he published his autobiography in 1996. “Breaking the Surface” became an instant best-seller and the author remains an engaged activist and now a mentor to the Team USA diving division in the London Olympics.
His trip to London was documented by filmmakers Cheryl Furjanic and producer Will Sweeney (The Royal Tenenbaums), currently shooting a non-fiction film about the former diving champion. “Back on Board” is about the personal and professional struggle of the “toughest sissy in the world”, as he appeared to call himself in a recent Huffington Post article. Furjanic and Sweeney wanted to remind the world that although he stopped diving, he never stopped fighting for gay rights and has been an inspiration for generations to come.
As the filmmaking duo explains on their Kickstarter campaign, it was only recently that they realized there was never a documentary made that would befit his legend (just a TV movie called “Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story”) or his continuous struggles to benefit the queer community – not to mention his place in the history of US diving.
“We are confident that Louganis’ legacy will become even more powerful as this film travels throughout the world affecting the lives of the next generation: explain the filmmakers. “Louganis’ life has touched, and been touched, by so many of today’s important social issues; LGBT issues; HIV/AIDS; bullying; the housing crisis; dyslexia; adoption; depression; and domestic violence, to name a few.” The pair filmed Louganis mentoring team USA behind the scenes in the London Olympics, while the film is set to be ready for 2013 in celebration of the 25-year anniversary from his golden victory at Seoul.
Check out the trailer below and visit the “Back on Board” Kickstarter campaign, which only has 6 more days to go.