Greg Louganis: Olympic Diver, Coach, and Adopted


The summer Olympics are here! Watching the grace, strength and agility of the divers from various nations, leaves me envious and speechless and wondering what happened to past athletes.

Greg Louganis is reportedly the greatest diver in history and the one diver of all time proving to be the closest to perfection in springboard and tower diving. Louganis’ career resulted in five world and forty-seven national titles, which included four Olympic gold medals and one silver medal spanning three Olympic Games taking place in 1976, 1984 & 1988. Louganis also earned the title of “Athlete of the Year” in 1988 by ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

Most of the public however remember Louganis as the diver who is famous for hitting his head on the springboard during a dive and then collapsing into the pool. Many thought his career was over, yet 35 minutes later, Louganis performed the dive and achieved the highest score ever in a qualifying round. The following day, leaning over to accept his gold medal, 5 stitches to his head were revealed to the public. I am in awe at the stamina Louganis showed to climb back up the ladder and perform the dive even after a head injury requiring stitches.

The Olympics provides an opportunity for athletes of all nations to meet and compete after a lifelong dedication to their sport. While Louganis represented the United States, his ethnic heritage was of Samoan and Swedish descent. Louganis’ teenaged parents created an adoption plan for him when he was eight months old and he was raised in California by his adoptive parents. Greg Louganis is just one of many successful Olympic athletes who demonstrate just how common adoption is.

Today, at the age of 52, Louganis is a trapeze artist and serves as Vice President of the U.S. Olympians Association. During this summer’s Olympics in London, Louganis is providing coaching and advice to our Olympic divers.

The Olympics provides us all a window into the lives and commitment of Olympic athletes. The stamina, focus, physical strength, grace and commitment of these athletes representing nations across the globe is nothing but admirable and mesmerizing. Louganis proved himself in three previous Olympics and will go down in history not only for his notable accomplishments, but also for his perseverance with overcoming personal life struggles.


Sports Illustrated, July 9-16, 2012, Greg Louganis Flying With Ease, Pages 103-105

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Sonja Brown works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptionsā€™ programs in Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Samoa. Sonja is also proud to work directly with our Individualized Country Program families who are adopting from countries where no adoption service providers currently operate.