Greg Louganis dominated the diving world in the ’80s. He won gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games on both the springboard and platform. He is the only male and the second diver in Olympic history to sweep the diving events in consecutive Olympic Games. He had also been the favorite to win the gold in those events in 1980 as well. However, the U.S. boycotted the Olympics that year as they were held in Cold War-era Moscow.
One of the most memorable images of Greg Louganis was in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul when he suffered a concussion after hitting his head on the springboard during the preliminary rounds while performing a reverse 2½ pike. That did not slow him down though. He earned the highest single score of the qualifying rounds on his next dive, and he would go on to win the Gold.
However, there was controversy after that event. It was discovered that 6 months before the Olympics, Louganis was diagnosed as being HIV positive, which he did not disclose. But his blood in the pool actually posed about zero risk. The blood was diluted by thousands of gallons of water, and “chlorine kills HIV”, said Dr. John Ward, chief of HIV-AIDS surveillance at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 1995, Greg Louganis went on Oprah’s show, and announced to the world that he was gay. It was one of Oprah’s top-rated shows and listed as one of her “25 Most Unforgettable Guests”.
Since November 2010, Louganis has been coaching divers of a wide range of ages and abilities in the SoCal Divers Club in Fullerton, California. He is also a mentor to the US diving team at the London 2012 Olympics.
Florence Griffith-Joyner is considered to be the “fastest woman of all time” as she holds the world record for both the 100 meters and 200 meters, both set in 1988 and has never been seriously challenged. She was the wife of triple jumper Al Joyner and the sister-in-law of heptathlete and long jumper Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
“Flo-Jo” was the big favorite for the titles in the sprint events at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. She did not disappoint! She won the Gold in the 100 meters and 200 meters races, as well as the 4×100 meters relay, and she won the Silver in the 4×400 meters relay.
She would go on to win the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States. Griffith-Joyner retired from competitive sports shortly afterwards.
Then Flo-Jo became the object of controversy. Since her performance had improved dramatically over a short period of time, and her physique changed a lot, she was accused of using performance enhancing drugs. She attributed the change in her physique to new health programs. It turns out that the International Olympic Committee’s medical commission claimed that Joyner was singled out for rigorous drug testing during the 1988 Seoul Olympics because of steroid rumors. And she passed with flying colors. There was not a trace of any performance enhancing drugs in her system.
In 1996, Flo-Jo attempted a comeback, so she could run the 400 meter race, and potentially become a record holder in that event as well, since she had already set world marks in both the 100 and 200 meter events. However, tendonitis in her right leg ended her hopes of becoming a triple world record holder.
Sadly, Flo-Jo died in her sleep on September 21, 1998 from a severe epileptic seizure. She was only 38.
Question: What women’s track star pioneered the one-legged body suit?
Last Question: In 1988, the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team won which Olympic medal?
1988 was the last year that NBA players were not allowed to participate. As a result, the Soviet Union took home the Gold, Yugoslavia took home the Silver, and the U.S. rounded out the medals by getting the Bronze.
While there were no NBA players on the U.S. team, there were plenty of future NBA players:
Charles Smith IV
Charles D. Smith
J. R. Reid
And as we know, the 1992 Olympics featured the “Dream Team”, starring Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and (once again) David Robinson.