Greg Louganis shares his journey to triumph in the Huffington Post:
I almost want to thank all the bullies in my life: the ones who called me "n*gger," "retard," "sissy boy," and "f*ggot"; those who threatened to throw punches at me and took my lunch money at the bus stop; those who actually threw punches at me and rubbed my face in asphalt; my dad, who whipped me with his belt until I did a dive I was too scared to do in my regular practice; the coaches who belittled me and intimidated me into pushing myself beyond what I thought I was capable of; and the man who raped me at knifepoint, whom I then stayed with for another six years. They all helped shape me, and without those experiences I could not be the person I am today. I had to learn to "forgive" myself and then find it in my heart to "forgive" them and even bless the light in them, no matter how dim that light was. But thanking them would be going too far, and it would be inaccurate. In the end it was my inner sense of self, my willpower and determination, that got me through and helped me take those experiences and literally turn them into gold.
In 1988, at the Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, on my ninth dive in the men's 3-meter springboard preliminaries, I struck my head on the board. Going into that Olympic event I was the favorite to win a gold medal, but in that split-second I became the "underdog." I was scared, having been diagnosed as HIV-positive six months prior, and aware that I was in a country that would have deported me if my status were known. It was what followed that made me realize the strength and power I had within me. I was taken to a room off the pool deck, where my head was sewn up. It wasn't bad, just four or five stitches. When my coach, Ron O'Brien, asked if I wanted to continue, I responded, without thinking, "We worked too long and hard to get there, and I don't want to give up without a fight."
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