Greg Louganis looks back at his Olympic error

He hit his head on a diving board in Seoul in 1988

BY Simon Maguire 21:15 Wednesday 21 June 2017, 21:15 21 Jun 2017

Diver Greg Louganis in 1987. Image: ©INPHO/Allsport

Former American diver Greg Louganis reflected on one of the most worrying moments in his career when he banged his head during a dive at the Seoul Olympics.

One of the most decorated divers of all time, Louganis won five Olympic medals - four gold and one silver during his career.

He joined Wednesday's Off the Ball to discuss his career and "that" moment in Korea.

"The first thing when I took off the board, I knew I was going to be close," he told Ger Gilroy, adding:"And I'm trying to get my hands out of the way of the board.

"Because usually you hit your hands or your arm and when I heard this big hollow thud and went crashing into the water I realised 'Oh my god, what was that?'

"And then I realised it was my head and my first emotion was embarrassment. I was so embarrassed because here I'm at the Olympics games and I'm supposed to be a good diver and pretty good divers don't do that.

"And so, I was trying to figure out 'how do I get out of this pool without anybody seeing me?' but then I realised that wasn't possible.

"The other thing that came shortly thereafter was 'Oh my god, what is my responsibility?' because my coach and I were the only ones that knew of my HIV status.  Because, had anybody known my HIV status in '88, I would not have been allowed into the country of South Korea to compete at that Olympic games. 

"So, I was terrified by fear and so, when my coach, Ron O'Brien came to me and said 'look, you don't have to get back up on the boards again' and, it was kind of a knee-jerk reaction, telling him 'look, we've worked too long and hard to get here and I don't want to give up without a fight."

Louganis went on to qualify for the final and won gold in both the 3m springboard and the 10m platform. 

You can listen to the full discussion here:

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