Life

Olympic Diver Greg Louganis Will Finally Get His Own Wheaties Box After Petition


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Greg Louganis’ face is all of us right now. After nearly 44,000 people signed an online petition to put the Olympic diver and LGBTQI activist on a Wheaties box, Louganis announced on Twitter that the effort had been a success—#GregGotWheaties.

The petition was started by Julie Sondegrath eight months ago, who wrote that, after watching the HBO documentary Back on Board: Greg Louganis, she was inspired to “ask General Mills to right a wrong.” Louganis was a big deal back in his day—at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, he won two gold medals and became the first man to get a perfect score of 700 in platform diving. Four years later, he snapped up two more gold medals in Seoul. According to Sondegrath’s petition, Swimming World once named him “The Greatest Diver Ever.” The man was even immortalized in a role by Mario Lopez!

Unfortunately, Louganis’ achievements weren’t enough for General Mills. Louganis has speculated in the past that the rumors of his sexual orientation—he came out publicly in 1994 and announced his HIV-positive status a year later—were what kept him from achieving a coveted Wheaties box after the ’84 and ’88 Olympics.

Louganis, along with swimmer Janet Evans and hurdler Edwin Moses, are the three newest inductees into the so-called Orange Box Club. Their Wheaties boxes, which General Mills is calling the “legends” series, will be available from May through the summer.

An outpouring of supportive replies followed his triumphant tweet, including one from Evans.


In an interview with the New York Times, Louganis explained how happy he is to be appearing with the two other overlooked Olympians. “Edwin and I were in the 1976 Olympics together,” he said. “He was my hero. God, he was my inspiration to get trust funds put in place for the athletes coming behind me.” Of Evans, he said, “I watched Janet grow up at Mission Viejo.”

Whether or not Sondegrath’s petition is what caused General Mills to change their tune on the Louganis issue is up for speculation.

General Mills’ brand media relations manager Mike Siemienas claimed the decision wasn’t about votes or petitions. “We look at a wide array of what [the athletes] accomplished on the field of play and what they do in their communities.”

Wheaties’ senior associate marketing manager Jenna Lynch added, “We hear from fans all the time about who should be on the Wheaties box.”

But either way, Louganis doesn’t mind—he’s just happy to be on the box. “This means so much more than it would have back then,” he told the Times. “Getting it now means people will see me as a whole person—a flawed person who is gay, HIV-positive, with all the other things I’ve been through.”

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