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Greg Louganis Needs Your Help to End Body Shame

Greg Louganis ActiveWear

The poz athlete's new active wear line will raise money for charity and fight body consciousness among youth. 

It’s been 40 years since Greg Louganis won his first Olympic medal in diving, jumpstarting his career and turning him into both a gay icon and later one of the most visible people living with HIV in the U.S. Having won five Olympic medals, today he is considered the best diver that’s ever lived.

Now he hopes to save the entire sport by helping young athletes feel more confident about their bodies — one swimsuit at a time. An Indie GoGo campaign was created to raise funds for the line, which has been a decade in the making. The concept for the new active wear line began after Louganis discovered that not enough kids wanted to be involved in diving because of their hesitation to wear Speedo swimsuits. His former coach, Ron O’Brien, challenged him to try and save the sport.

“Young boys are very body conscious at that age and strive to be cool,” Louganis explained. “It’s embarrassing to them at that point in their development. So my coach presented it to me. I took it on. I knew it was a very small, niche market but I took it on as a challenge. And I came up with designs that were flexible. Then I realized these would also be perfect for sports like gymnastics, acrobats, dance, and other kinds of movement activities.”

The Indie GoGo campaign hopes to raise funds for active wear, the first line in what Louganis hopes to become a bigger enterprise to challenge body consciousness and help get more youth into sports.

“By funding this through an Indie GoGo Campaign, I will have the freedom to put my ideas into action in the best way possible,” he said, “and hopefully, help the sport of diving and the Olympic movement along the way.”

Portions of the profits will go to charities Crossing The Line, which helps Olympians transition to life after competing, and The Point Foundation, which provides scholarships and mentoring to LGBTQ youth. It’s no secret that giving back is something Louganis knows best.

“I am grateful to have lived long enough for many people to reach out to me and share their stories and challenges with other people, and of self-acceptance,” Louganis told Plus. “I find inspiration in their stories, especially when I am feeling I am not doing enough, or that finances are getting in the way of me being able to do all the things people would like me to do.”

Last year, the award-winning documentary Back on Board covered the athlete's career as an Olympian diver, as well as his journey as a gay man living HIV. After famously hitting his head on the diving board at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, he sparked a worldwide conversation about HIV — one that still resonates today. 

Nearly 30 years later, Louganis is finally getting the recognition he deserves, finally appearing on the cover of the Wheaties Box and becoming the first out gay, HIV-positive grand marshal of California's famed 128th Rose Parade. And like his legacy, Louganis promises that his fashion line will uphold the integrity his fans expect of him.

“I will carefully monitor every aspect to ensure it meets the highest standards and follows my design,” he said. “I hope this will connect me with fans all over the world in new and exciting ways.”

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