Olympic Gold Medalist Greg Louganis settled into his seat on the
New York City subway last fall on his way to perform in the
Off-Broadway show and former Dan Butler vehicle The Only Thing Worse
You Could Have Told Me..., and quickly fell into rapt thought.
Shaking his head and laughing to himself, Louganis reflected on the
year gone by and his incredible journey of coming out to the nation
as a gay man with AIDS. "It's been the most extraordinary year of my
life," he says. "It's been my biggest year of growth and
After concluding a six-week stint in The Only Thing, Louganis
went on a national speaking tour discussing his battle with the twin
closets of his sexual orientation and HIV status (as well as
promoting his bio, Breaking the Surface).
Now Louganis is ready for more acting, encouraged by the support
of friends like his University of Miami classmate Dawnn Lewis (A
Different World). "She said, 'Greg, as long as I've known you,
you've always wanted to be an actor.'" But timing is everything. "I
couldn't give the book tour up because that's real money," he says.
"Off-Broadway you are not going to make enough to meet your
So far acting offers haven't poured in, but Louganis suspects it
has less to do with AIDSphobia than with the simple fact he doesn't
have an agent. "That's not normal," he says. "I think that if I did
have an agent I would have more submissions."
He also knows he has to take care of his health first, something
that made him think hard before accepting the Butler play. "I
thought, what's the worse that could happen? I could get sick during
the run and not be able to finish it. Is somebody going to fault me
Meanwhile, producer Scott Allyn was warned against casting
someone with AIDS in the show. "People were telling him, 'You're
nuts. You'd better get insurance,'" Louganis says. Allyn remained
steadfast in his choice, and the show went on.
Next year, Butler will take the show to London, while Louganis
may travel to Chicago, Sydney or Toronto with it. "I had my
trepidations because the show is so physically demanding, but I'm
looking forward to doing it again. It was exhausting," he says. "But
it was more exhilarating."
Meanwhile, a movie version of Breaking the Surface is in the
works for the USA cable network. While Louganis will not play
himself in the movie, he wants to be the body double for the actor
playing him in the diving scenes.