Video: Olympic Champion Terribly Bangs His Head During Seoul 1988

Published 12/20/2023, 12:02 AM EST

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For diving fans, September 19, 1988, will always remain memorable both for the tragedy and the subsequent triumph that followed. Competing for the Seoul Olympics preliminaries, a diving savant from the United States cracked his head open on the diving board. What followed next was even more nerve-wracking than the accident.

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Legendary American diver Greg Louganis suffered a harrowing injury at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In recent times, he has stayed away from the limelight. The last time we heard of him was when he decided to auction all of his gold medals to declutter his life and attain financial stability. Each of these medals has a story to tell that eclipses their astounding financial value. However, none comes close to the medal he won in Seoul, for which he almost sacrificed his life.

Greg Louganis’ head injury at the 1988 Seoul Olympics

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The tales of Greg Louganis’ swashbuckling adventures on the diving board during the 1984 Olympics had reached the swimming fans in South Korea. Thus, when their fabled hero came to the diving board, the crowds erupted in frenzied applause. However, as Louganis took the leap, the excited clamorings died down in a “big hollow thud”. That was the sound of Greg Louganis hitting his head on the diving board. The unexpected mishap was caught on camera and recently reuploaded on Twitter by a user identifying himself with the ‘Dystopian World’ moniker. The X user captioned the video, “Greg Louganis accidentally hit his head on the diving board at Olympic in 1988”.

The video documented the bone-chilling accident as well as the shock and concern on the faces of the spectators. Greg Louganis attempted a daring flip, and on the fall, his head struck the edge of the board. As he later recounted to Barbara Walters of ABC News, Louganis knew that it “was going to be close because I could feel it in my own body. What I was concerned about was hitting my hands, so I came out wide so that the board would go by, and I wouldn’t hit it”. The U.S. legend made sure not to let his fans wallow in disappointment for too long.

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Triumph amidst adversity

Greg Louganis required four stitches on his skull to patch up the gaping wound. While the doctors prescribed rest, the diving icon was dying to get back on the springboard. He defied the doctor’s orders and finished the preliminaries in third position. However, the tales of his somersaulting adventures in 1988 were far from over.

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Greg Lougnasis went on to win the double gold in the springboard and platform diving events. He was the first man to secure back-to-back victories in both events. As the world draws closer to another Olympics, the fans are keeping their fingers crossed to avoid a similar tragedy.

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Written by:

Anchal Ahuja

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I am Anchal Ahuja, an Olympic Sports writer at EssentiallySports. My love for sports grew when I first watched Olympics when I was 7-years-old. Growing up as I started to delve deeper into the sporting realm, I decided to move on with my new passion with all new hopes to get success.
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