In the Works: BACK ON BOARD: THE STORY OF GREG LOUGANIS

One of the producers of THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS joins the director of the synchronized swimming doc SYNC OR SWIM to tell the story of the champion Olympic diver.

Producer Will Sweeney and director Cheryl Furjanic explore the life and legend of Greg Louganis, considered by many the greatest diver of all time. A four-time Olympian – though he, like the rest of the US team, was unable to compete in 1980 due to the US boycott – Louganis quickly moved from a child prodigy to become a household name and an inspiration to many athletes. One of the indelible moments of the 1988 Olympic Games came when he recovered from a concussion in a preliminary round to go on to win the gold medal. However, in 1994, when he revealed he was gay and HIV positive, he faced a backlash that resulted in the disappearance of most of his lucrative endorsements, and he largely fell out of the public eye. Furjanic and Sweeney’s film explores the Olympian’s eventful and complex past while following him in the present as he returns to the diving board to mentor the 2012 US Olympic diving team.

This week, the filmmakers launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $50,000 towards the production. In just the first few days, they’ve raised more than 20%, and there’s still nearly a month to go. Those interested can keep updated on the project via its website.

As a tween and early teen, I was glued to the TV for both the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games – while I’ve never been a sports fan, I was swept up in the excitement – especially for the US swimming and diving teams. I can still remember the footage of Louganis’ diving board accident and the flawless dive he performed to qualify and ultimately win the medal. Maybe it was the Greek thing – though I’m not sure if I knew he was adopted – or maybe it was a nascent gaydar. Whatever the case, I was a fan, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Furjanic tells his story, including the fallout from his controversial coming out – tinged with both homophobia and AIDSphobia – and especially how one deals with life after early celebrity.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, In the Works

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