Louganis boost to South Asia’s first LGBTI games

Nepal is set to host South Asia’s first sports festival exclusively for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgendered and intersexes -LGBTI in short-a three-day event which will kick start this Friday. But more than the 350 athletes from Nepal and 150 others expected from 17 countries, the main attraction of the festival would be Olympic legend Gregory Efthimios Louganis or Greg Louganis to fans worldwide.

The US diving champion, who won double gold medals in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, has confirmed his attendance as guest of honour for the event to be hosted in Kathmandu.

Louganis’s career has been an inspiration for sportspersons worldwide and is bound to boost those taking part in the festival. His presence will also aid the fight for LGBTI rights in Nepal, feels organizer Blue Diamond Society.

One of the most enduring images of the 1988 Seoul Olympics was Louganis’s accident during preliminary rounds of the springboard event where he suffered a concussion after hitting the board.

Despite worries about whether he would be able to continue, he came back for the final round and won the event. It was later revealed that he was diagnosed as HIV positive six months prior to the Olympics.

Louganis disclosed that he was gay in 1994 and co-wrote his autobiography ‘Breaking the Surface’ a year later where he detailed his early years of domestic abuse, rape and depression.

The athlete has dabbled in films and television besides coaching. He was mentor to the US diving team in the London Olympics.

More importantly Louganis has been a role model for spreading HIV awareness and his work to defend civil liberties of LGBTI community and those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

by Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
Source – Hindustan Times