HomePasifikaOlympic gold medalist Greg Louganis finds his hero

Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis finds his hero

By Ellen Lee & Emily Tan, AARP The Magazine

MY Parents never hid the fact that I was adopted,” says Greg Louganis,61.

“They told me my birth father was Samoan, but I didn’t know what that meant. I only knew that I had darker skin than the other kids.”

Then, when he was 9 years old, the talented young diver traveled to a com-petition in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and saw a statue of Duke Kahanamoku, the legendary Hawaiian swimmer, who died in 1968.

“I thought, He kindof looks like me,” Louganis recalls. “It was so gratifying to see that someone I resembled could be a champion.”

Louganis researched Kahanamoku and learned he was known not only for his five Olympic medals but for popularizing the sport of surfing, until then largely unknown outside of Hawaii.

Having a Pacific Islander to look up to gave Louganis confidence, he adds. Yet it wasn’t until he had won three of his own five Olympic medals that he first connected with his Pacific Island heritage in a personal way. At an ap-pearance in Honolulu, he met his bio-logical father, Fouvale Lutu, who had reluctantly given him up for adoption as an infant 24 years earlier.

More Here

Photo of Greg Louganis from Wikimedia Creative Commons by Aids.gov.

Photo of Duke Kahanamoku from Wikimedia Creative Commons by AR Gurrey Jr.

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