Greg Louganis, Gay Olympic Legend, Is Finally Covering a Wheaties Box
Like an Olympic diving pool, homophobia can get pretty deep.
"It's so iconic, everybody looks at the Wheaties box and it's such an honor," Louganis said. Louganis is receiving the honor after a Change.org petition garnered more than 40,000 signatures asking Wheaties to honor the Olympic icon.
He is finally getting an orange box of his own, but it's a bit of a head-scratcher that he didn't get one before. He's won four Olympic gold medals and is believed to be the best diver of all time.
According to the New York Times, Louganis has previously indicated that Wheaties probably declined to have him cover their iconic cereal box during his heyday in the 1980s because of homophobia. Rumors about his sexuality plagued him during his time as a celebrity athlete.
Louganis came out in 1994 and came out as HIV-positive in 1995. He kept his diagnosis a secret out of fear, even after he famously hit his head on the diving board during the 1988 Olympics.
A documentary about his life, Back on Board: Greg Louganis, aired on HBO in August. Around the time of the documentary, he sat down with GLAAD to discuss the rampant homophobia he faced while an Olympic athlete.
"I didn't feel welcome in diving," Louganis said. "There was homophobia. Some of my teammates were calling me 'f*ggot.'"
Louganis also spoke to Plus about the homophobia he faced when it came to endorsement deals. He said:
The whole "commercialism" of the Olympics was just starting to take shape during my career: 1972 with Mark Spitz, then 1976 with [Caitlyn] then Bruce Jenner. We boycotted the 1980 Olympics, and then in 1984 with all the amazing stories, triumphs, and legacies — Carl Lewis, Edwin Moses, Rowdy Gains, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, the men's gymnastics team, Jone Benoit and others —the one name the advertisers really rallied behind was Mary Lou Retton. It just goes to show there are no guarantees to financial success just for an Olympic gold medal.
Despite all this, according to the New York Times, Louganis harbors no bad feelings toward General Mills and even praised its current support for the LGBT community.
Wheaties boxes featuring Louganis — as well as legendary athletes Janet Evans and Edwin Moses — will be available in May.