At 56, Greg Louganis may be the oldest athlete ever to be on the front of a Wheaties box. But it has been a long time comin’.
Louganis, of course, was the model of physical perfection when he won four gold medals for diving at the Olympic Games. Notoriously, he also thwacked his skull on a diving board, slicing open his scalp and bleeding into the pool before his second dive, where he received perfect 10s in 1988. But as he revealed in his autobio Breaking the Surface in 1995, it was nerve-wracking at the time, because he has just earlier that year learned he was HIV-positive. No one knew, and Louganis himself didn’t expect to live long enough to be on a Wheaties box.
As it turned out, it wasn’t the disease, but the bigotry, that kept him from staring at you across your breakfast table.
It was a strange at the time he wasn’t so honored, because he was America’s sweetheart… except he was secretly gay. Apparently, General Mills figured it out, and told Louganis he wasn’t in keeping with their image of wholesomeness. But yesterday, a photo of Louganis from his prime was added to the lineup of athletes on the boxes. He is one of several “makeup” vintage boxes, including swimmer Janet Evans and hurdler Edwin Moses.
And it kind of makes sense. After all, the first athlete on a Wheaties box was a decathlete named Bruce Jenner. Now that Bruce is Caitlyn and a member of the execrable Kardashian Klan, a modest, settled gay-rights activist like Louganis seems like a church deacon in terms of wholesomeness… oh, wait, we know about those church deacons too…