The United States diving team hasn’t won a medal in two straight Olympics and hasn’t won a gold since 2000, but that wasn’t always the case.
Back in the 1980s, the United States diving team was on top, thanks to Greg Louganis. Louganis won four gold medals off the three and 10-meter platforms, but has been away from the sport for a time until now.
The Associated Press reports that Louganis is now associated with USA Diving again, this time acting as a mentor to younger athletes, helping them to relieve the stress associated with high-level competition as they approach the 2012 London Olympics. He came on board last year, with not much time until the start of the games.
“”I’m hoping it’s not too little, too late,” Louganis told the AP. “I’m not coaching dives, I’m observing and making recommendations of what I see, of what they may be able to add to enhance their training programs.”
Louganis hopes to share his life experience with the medal hopefuls, sharing that no matter what is going on in their life they can get through it. Lougainis, for example, competed in the Olympics despite no one knowing he was gay and HIV positive. And of course there was the time he hit his head on the platform and still returned to win a gold medal.
“I’ve been to those dark places, but I came up on the other side,” he said. “It gives an opportunity of realizing that there might be something else.”
In the interim between his stepping away from coaching and his return to USA Diving, Louganis has worked in a different type of competition. Yahoo’s Martin Rogers reports that the 52-year old Louganis has been training pedigree dogs.
While Louganis is hopeful he can help restore some winning ways to USA Diving, he won’t be away from man’s best friend for long.
“I always got on better with dogs than with people,” Greg Louganis said. “I just have a very natural connection with them and you can build these incredible and beautiful relationships. I will definitely be competing with dogs again, it won’t be too long.”