DIVE OF DEATH: How an Olympic Swimmer Suffered His Most Painful Moment at the Olympics

Published 07/17/2021, 10:35 AM EDT
The giant Olympic rings are seen through a tree in the dusk at the waterfront area of Odaiba Marine Park, before the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan July 8, 2021. REUTERS/Issei Kato


Swimming in the Olympics is one of the most-watched events in the games. Likewise, Diving is another sport that completely enraptures people’s minds. If Michael Phelps is the greatest swimmer of all time, Greg Louganis’ diving exploits are legendary. Arguably the greatest diver of all time, he won four gold medals in two Olympic Games. Moreover, he is the only diver to sweep the diving events in two consecutive Olympic games. But during the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Louganis diving prelims was marred with somewhat an iconic and dangerous incident.

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Greg hit his head on his favorite springboard event, and the fans in attendance were left stunned.

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Greg Louganis shocks the audience in Seoul Olympics

Despite being a legendary diver, no one could contemplate the moment which happened in those games. The springboard event showcased his dominance throughout his career. However, while attempting a reverse two-and-a-half somersault in the pike position, he thumped his head on the springboard, which made a stunned silence in the arena. It left a big cut on his head.

The problem did not end there. Before the games, Greg tested positive for HIV. By keeping a secret from that problem, he competed in the Olympics because of his determination. Although the organizers were concerned about this, they later deemed it to be safe for the other competitors to dive. By cutting his head on the board, he started bleeding. Panic struck amongst the officials whether the virus would spread to other competitors. However, chlorine in the pool killed the virus, and it was deemed to be safe.

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Dive of Death

Despite that accident, he stepped forward to attempt the dive, and the fans in attendance held their breath. Being tagged as the greatest diver the world has seen, Greg repeated the dive and scored 76.25 points for that dive. Finally, he won the gold medal by 25 points in the springboard event. Quite a remarkable achievement.

Soon after the springboard event, Louganis went head to head with the 14-year-old Chinese wunderkind, Xiong Ni on the 10m platform. The prodigy was leading in the last round by scoring 82.56 points. However, Louganis had other ideas. By being terrorized with a diving accident of Sergei Chalibashvili, who passed away while attempting the dive of death, Louganis was determined to land the dive. A three-and-half reverse somersault with tuck often labeled as the ‘Dive of Death’ was on his mind.

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Showing no fear, Greg landed the dive and scored 86.70 points, and made history. The perfect ending to the most graceful diver in the sport’s history.

Bowing out after the Seoul Olympic Games, Louganis retired after the event. The diving competitions are exciting as it flirts with danger and provides fans with nail-biting moments. The Tokyo Olympics 2020 will be the latest platform for new divers to put on a show. Even though many divers have come and gone, Greg Louganis’ diving feats would probably be unmatched.

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WATCH THIS STORY- Top 10 Moments of Olympic Sporting Spirit

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Jacob Gijy

214 articles

Jacob Gijy is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the centre the respect he deserves.

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