Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis will be the featured guest and
speaker at the fourth annual "Conversations" event hosted by the
American Psychiatric Foundation on Tuesday, May 24, at APA's 2005 annual
meeting in Atlanta.
Louganis, winner of four Olympic gold medals in diving, will discuss his
battle with depression and substance abuse and his HIV diagnosis. As mentioned
in his book, Breaking the Surface, Louganis has struggled with
depression since the age of 12, when he was told that knee damage would keep
him from his dream of eventually competing as a gymnast in the Olympics. He
found that diving, which is easier on the knees than gymnastics, was a
satisfying outlet for his physical energy. Still, he battled low self-esteem
and attempted suicide several times before reaching 18.
He learned his HIV status in 1988 as he prepared for the Olympic games in
Seoul. For years, he did not talk about it out of fear that it would cost him
his diving career. Eventually, he went public with his HIV status and began
touring the country to share his life experiences.
The foundation launched its "Conversations" event three years
ago so that psychiatrists could hear from people whose daily lives have been
affected by mental illness. The event is supported by an unrestricted
educational grant from AstraZeneca.