Among the great stars to remember in the Pan American Games, we would have to immediately dive into the pools and go directly to little Greg: a restless boy who was already a dance student since he was two years old and went to trampoline jumping at nine, a moment from which he progressed rapidly in this modality. He participated in the 1976 Olympics at just 16 years old, winning a silver medal on the 10-meter platform. Four years later, already at the peak of his performance, he did not take part in the 1980 Olympics because of the boycott of the United States. The revenge would come in Los Angeles 84 and Seoul 88, when he won the gold medals in all the events in which he participated: 3-meter springboard and 10-meter platform.
At the Seoul 88 Games he starred in one of the most remembered Olympic stories, as he had to fight hard with the Chinese jumper Liangde, who despite having beaten Louganis in tournaments prior to the Games, failed to inflict an Olympic defeat on him. At these Games, in which he took his third and fourth gold, a terrible mistake caused him to hit his head in one of the qualifying jumps against the 3-meter springboard (an accident that shortly before had cost the life of a Soviet jumper), after which he fell into the water with a deep cut; however, he got out of the pool and half an hour later was jumping again, with a bandage on his head, to win his third Olympic gold medal.
Years later Louganis confessed that the real drama of that accident was internal. By that year he already knew that he was infected with the AIDS virus, and the scientific ignorance of that time wreaked havoc on the jumper, thinking that, with his blood, he had contaminated the entire Olympic pool. Later studies would say the exact opposite.
Greg Louganis was also five times world champion and four times the Pan American Games champion. His showcases are full of medals and recognitions, and to this day his name remains the most remembered one in this sport. Without a doubt, he's the most prestigious jumper to have gone through the Pan American Games, where he won 6 golds in three consecutive Pan American Games: San Juan 79, Caracas 83 and Indianapolis 87.
Greg Louganis, one more of our Pan American legends, a luxury competitor whose brand will never be erased in the eternal movement of water.
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