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Monday August 4, 2008

OLYMPICS Flashback: GREG LOUGANIS In A Cheesy Ad For BANANA BOAT

For Olympic athletes, taking home the gold can lead to lots of lucrative product endorsements.  But homophobic advertisers shied away from gay superstar diver Greg Louganis, who nabbed a total of four gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.

No Nike.  No Wheaties.  No McDonald’s.

At least Banana Boat had the balls to hire him.

Mario Lopez Banana Boat

Louganis was more successful as an author with his best-selling memoir, Breaking The Surface.  The book was made into a television movie in 1997.  Potraying Louganis was actor Mario Lopez.

Mario Lopez Breaking The Surface Greg Louganis

On a related note, The Advocate’s current cover story is a profile of 20-year-old Australian gay swimmer Matthew Mitcham, who will be competing in Beijing.

Matthew Mitcham Advocate

According to the article, he doesn’t exactly spend much time thinking about Louganis and his pioneering ways.  “We’re both gay divers,” says Mitcham, but “that’s about the only similarity— two things we share out of thousands of millions of qualities and character traits.”

Most swimmers don’t reach peak performance until their mid-20s, so we’ll probably be seeing a lot more of Mitcham.

Matthew Mitcham Advocate

Hopefully, he’ll reap the benefits of all his hard work and make advertising moolah galore!

  

Filed Under: Role Models, History Comments