Sydney Morning Herald: “Top TV choices: Five shows to watch including Greg Louganis’ story Back on Board “

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Top TV choices: Five shows to watch including Greg Louganis’ story Back on Board

Back on Board

Showcase, Sunday, 8.30pm

Whatever became of Greg Louganis, who wowed us at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and then disappeared from public life after being diagnosed HIV positive?

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New York Times: Movement Builds to Honor Greg Louganis on a Wheaties Box



When Julie Sondgerath learned from the premiere of the HBO documentary “Greg Louganis: Back on Board” this month that Louganis, the transcendent Olympic diver, had never been on the cover of a Wheaties cereal box, she started a petition drive on Change.orgto demand that General Mills correct an omission that has lasted more than 30 years.

Will Sweeney, the producer of “Back on Board,” said: “Greg is always very careful and willing to consider alternate explanations. But rationally, I can’t come up with any other one. Here was a guy who by any metric or evaluation was the dominant figure in his sport. And here he was standing against a wall of Wheaties boxes of people who people don’t know. How was it possible he never had a Wheaties box?”

“The thing people react to in the film,” said Cheryl Furjanic, its director, “is they see what an incredible athlete and human he is and they say, ‘If all these other people were on the Wheaties box, why wasn’t he?’ ”


OutSports: Great Greg Louganis documentary “Back on Board” to debut Tuesday on HBO


A must-see documentary “Back on Board: Greg Louganis” gets its TV debut Tuesday on HBO and it’s a fascinating portrait of perhaps the greatest Olympic diver of all time. The film airs at 10 p.m. EDT and PDT with repeat showings during the month.

The film, directed by Cheryl Furjanic and produced by Furjanic and Will Sweeney, was a hit on the festival circuit a year ago and was picked up by HBO.  I saw it last summer at Outfest in Los Angeles and thought it was brilliant. Louganis, gay and now married, has lived an amazing life, filled with incredible highs and heart-wrenching lows, but he has survived and is finally being recognized again for his accomplishments.

There has been a lot of positive media on Louganis as part of HBO’s publicity, including a terrific LA Times profile. Anyone who cares about LGBT history or sports history needs to see this film.


New York Post/Page Six: Greg Louganis recalls his struggle with coming out


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by Cindy Adams

Greg Louganis. Greatest diver ever. Four-time Olympic gold medalist, 13 championships. Tough childhood, tough time coming out sexually, tough accident, tough time financially — still, he never drowned. His story “Back on Board” is on HBO Tuesday night.

“I was adopted as a child. Half-Samoan, I was darker than anybody in school. I felt different. And at a young age, a gay kid who didn’t know what gay was.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 30:  (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been digitally altered)  Olympic diver Greg Louganis of HBO's 'Back On Board: Greg Louganis' poses in the Getty Images Portrait Studio powered by Samsung Galaxy at the 2015 Summer TCA's at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 30, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Maarten de Boer/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JULY 30: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been digitally altered) Olympic diver Greg Louganis of HBO’s ‘Back On Board: Greg Louganis’ poses in the Getty Images Portrait Studio powered by Samsung Galaxy at the 2015 Summer TCA’s at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 30, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Maarten de Boer/Getty Images)


Rolling Stone Magazine: Greg Louganis: Far From Falling

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The iconic athlete and activist reflects on his extraordinary life in the new HBO Sports documentary ‘Back on Board’

Back on Board manages to convey how individuals like Louganis have, in sharing their stories, radically shifted the discourse around HIV since the Nineties. Toward the end of the film, he watches a video in which diver Ji Wallace comes out as HIV-positive, citing Louganis as an inspiration. Wallace speaks with confidence and strength. He doesn’t appear afraid that he will be asked how a smart guy like him practiced unsafe sex or how he contracted the illness. He doesn’t seem to worry that he’ll be chastised for hoping to live a long time.

“This film has the power to save lives,” Louganis says.

Just like its star.
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OC Weekly: Greg Louganis Film Back on Board Exposes Pride of UCI and OC High Schools TONIGHT



A documentary on the pride of UC Irvine–and before that Santa Ana and Mission Viejo high schools–premieres at 10 tonight on HBO.

When Will Orange County Name a School After Legendary Olympic Diver/Civil Rights Hero Sammy Lee?

The four-time Olympic gold medal-winning diver at the center of director Cheryl Furjanic’sBack on Board: Greg Louganis describes the documentary as “a raw look
at my life.”

Diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, six months before the 1988 Summer Olympics, now 55-year-old Louganis told City News Service’s Steven Herbert recently, “I knew those were my last competitive dives because we still viewed HIV/AIDS as a death sentence. I never thought I’d see 30. And then 30 goes by. And then 40 goes by.”


Globe & Mail: Olympic diver Greg Louganis recalls scorn of being different

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Back on Board: Greg Louganis (HBO Canada, 10 p.m.) is a plainly told but powerful documentary about his life. Mainly it’s about a twisted path in which circumstances were forced upon him and the poor decisions he made. Decisions that were rooted in fear – fear of the scorn he had felt.

As the doc makes clear, in other circumstances Louganis, this handsome, well-known young man, gloriously good and beautiful to watch in diving, would have had a clear path to fame and commercial reward. He seemed made for a classic American sports story. Adopted at eight months by a middle-class family in California, he had asthma and allergy problems. Gymnastics and swimming helped him deal with that.


StarTribune: Neal Justin’s TV picks for Aug. 4


The big bounce

The ups and downs of being one of the first openly gay athletes in the U.S. is examined in “Back On Board: Greg Louganis,” a new documentary that looks at the life of a public figure who has largely disappeared since his Olympic diving triumphs in 1976, 1984 and 1988. 9 p.m. HBO


IndieWire: Why We Made A Documentary Film About Greg Louganis


By Cheryl Furjanic and Will Sweeney | /BentAugust 4, 2015 at 12:05PM

‘Back on Board’ debuts on HBO tonight at 10pm.

Three years ago we read that Olympic Champion diver Greg Louganis was returning to the sport of diving — as a coach and Olympic mentor — after a two decade-long absence.  As filmmakers in our late thirties, we both had fond and vivid memories of Greg in the Olympic Games.  We thought a film about Louganis and his return to the sport synonomous with his name would make for an incredible film.
We called and talked to Greg and we were all excited about the idea.  The result of these last three years of work together is our feature-length documentary “Back on Board: Greg Louganis” which is making its world premiere this Friday at the AFI Docs Film Festival.

After spending three years with him, we can tell you (and our film does it even better), that even when you think you know everything there is to know about Greg, trust us, there’s more.  “Back on Board: Greg Louganis” is an intimate portrait of Greg’s private struggles and public triumphs.


Xfinity: Back on Board’ Doc Brings Post-Olympic Story of Greg Louganis and Saving Lives Today

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It’s easy to imagine that once someone wins medals at any Olympic games their lives are pretty set, right?

That’s a great idea, but not really true, as you’ll see when watching Back on Board: Greg Louganis which airs tonight on HBO.

For three years, four-time Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis was followed by filmmaker Cheryl Furjanic as she chronicled his life today, as well as looked back at his impressive and groundbreaking history.

Louganis opens up in the film like never before. He even discusses his financial hardships, how he was overlooked for endorsement deals and how his HIV diagnosis may have hurt him at a time when it wasn’t as accepted.

I sat down with Louganis last week during the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills to talk about the film and to also get an update on his life as a married man.

You and Cheryl worked together on this for three years, so is it safe to say there’s a lot of trust that goes into really opening yourself up to her?

Greg Louganis: Cheryl and the crew kind of moved in with me and followed me around, and we didn’t know where we were going with this. I joke she was my therapist for those three years because there was so much going on. It was like, “oh, what do I do?” And actually, even our sound guy was going through a similar situation with his house and so we were comparing notes, sharing experiences and really helping navigate through a lot of the stuff.



USA Today: Gold medal diver Greg Louganis focus of HBO documentary

At times, Greg Louganis soared above other athletes.

He won two gold medals as an Olympic diver in 1984, then did the same in 1988. At a 1982 world championship, he became the first diver with a perfect score from every judge.

“You could not beat footage of Greg Louganis at his peak,” said Cheryl Furjanic, who has made a compelling HBO documentary. “You’ve never seen anything so beautiful.”

And afterward? By all logic, said Ken Hershman of HBO Sports, you might guess he would have “a charmed life, that he would be celebrated and cherished, all glitter and gold.”

Not so. The film shows Louganis struggling to avoid losing his home, after tough decades. Some of the trouble involved being gay in the macho setting of 1980s sports; still, that was just one of many ways that he’d felt different.



GLAAD VIDEO: Openly gay diver Greg Louganis talks HIV and new documentary

In an interview for GLAAD’s video series, GLAAD: All Access, Olympic champion diver Greg Louganis talks with host Claire Pires about the homophobia he experienced, living with HIV, and how he has found a new passion working with Olympic hopefuls.

Louganis has won four Olympic gold medals, and no one to date has ever beaten his diving records. But behind the scenes, he was bullied growing up and on his Olympic team for being gay. Even though he had won four Olympic gold medals, he did not receive any endorsement deals, and he struggled financially because of that reality. In 1995, however, he published the book, “Breaking the Surface,” in which he came out as a gay man living with HIV, making him one of the first athletes to publicly come out and launching him into a new career as an HIV and AIDS advocate.

The documentary, Back on Board: Greg Louganis, (HBO at 10 p.m. ET Tuesday, Aug. 4) traces his story from a difficult childhood, through his Olympic conquests, to a transformative post-Olympic life, outlining the discrimination and other obstacles he has faced throughout his remarkable journey.

Watch the GLAAD video above.

CraveOnline: Greg Louganis Gets Back on Board “Live or die, but don’t hover”

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He’s the most dominant diver in Olympic history. At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles Greg Louganis was “The Man” winning two gold medals in the 3M Springboard event and the 10M Platform.  Greg went on to win gold in the same two events in the Seoul games in 1988 becoming the only male diver in history to win back to back events.

With his Adonis good looks and boyish charm Louganis was America’s sweetheart.  In the 90’s he announced that he was gay shocking the nation as one of the first pro athletes to come out, followed by an admission of being HIV positive.  Many of today’s generation are too young to understand what such an admission meant at that time.  Non-existent was the much wider main stream acceptance of homosexuals that lives today.  The bravery that Louganis showed by coming out was unprecedented for that era.

Now over two decades removed from the sport he once dominated Louganis is back to help mentor the US Diving team and lead them back to greatness.

I had a chance to chat one on one with the former Olympic champ to talk about his upcoming feature “Back On Board” that debut’s on HBO Tuesday August 4th.

Champ, thanks for taking the time today. First please tell me about Back on Board and the message you’re conveying.

“Back On Board covers so much. The thing that i think impresses me is the work that Will Sweeney and Cheryl Furjanic did with the chronology of my life and also giving a background of what was going on in the world at that time.Yes i hard about ActUp and i heard about this and that and LGBQ. Much of it was news to me because i was so focused on my diving. That wasn’t my reality but it was happening around me. It was wonderful to put it all together.”


Towleroad: What to Watch This Week on TV: A New “Greg Louganis” Doc

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Check out our weekly guide to make sure you’re catching the big premieres, crucial episodes and the stuff you won’t admit you watch when no one’s looking.

— Long before Caitlyn Jenner, another acclaimed Olympian made waves as an out gay man and HIV-positive athlete. In the documentary Back On Board: Greg Louganis, the diver’s struggles against homophobia and discrimination are put on full display, including his battle to save his Malibu home. The film premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. Eastern on HBO.


HIV+Mag: Exclusive Interview: Greg Louganis Talks About Being Back on Board

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Director Cheryl Furjanic’s intimate portrait of the gay, HIV-positive athlete turned activist is at times inspiring, heartbreaking, revelealing, maddening, and instructive.

So much of the media this summer has been focused on Caitlyn Jenner, the former Olympic champion who came out as transgender and perhaps lesbian all in one swoop, that the time seems right for a feature-length documentary on another gay sports hero. The new HBO Sports documentary, Back On Board: Greg Louganis, offers a different kind of coming out, one no less uncomfortable. An intimate film, Back on Board follows the life of Louganis, a four-time Olympic champion, from his childhood of wins to his retreat from the sport and then later a return to diving after a long period of absence. But it begins with Louganis dealing with bill collectors, creditors, and a bank that’s about to foreclose on the house he’s lived in for 28 years. He’s broke. Not because, like many former stars, he snorted all his massive earnings or pissed it away on reckless adventures. No, in part, Louganis is broke because he was never really rich. An out gay, poz athlete — and even before that, a teen athlete that was perceived to be gay —Louganis never got the big endorsement deals that Jenner and Mary Lou Retton and other all-American types did, even after he won Olympic gold. While the film documents both highs (the wins, the future husband, the return to coach another USA team to Olympic victory decades later) and lows (losing his home, struggling with money and self-esteem), the saddest moment is surely watching Louganis wistfully talk about never getting be on a Wheaties box. To undo this wrong, we made Louganis his own Wheaties box (see below) and caught up with the pioneering, HIV-positive Olympic diver to ask about the film, which premiers Tuesday Aug. 4 on HBO and HBONow.

This documentary was incredibly revealing. To me talking about money is even harder than talking about being gay. Did you struggle with what to reveal to Cheryl during filming?



Human Rights Campaign: Greg Louganis Documentary to Premiere on HBO

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Tonight, “Back on Board: Greg Louganis,” a documentary following the life of openly gay and HIV-positive Olympian Greg Louganis, premiers on HBO.

Greg Louganis was 28-years-old when he was first diagnosed with HIV and was one of the first openly gay men in sports. The documentary shows what life has been like for Louganis, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, now 55-years-old, since becoming a household name in the 1980s.

“I didn’t feel welcomed in diving,” Louganis admitted in the trailer. “There was homophobia. Some of my teammates were calling my fag.”

Louganis’s decision to live openly and authentically paved the way for several other gay and lesbian athletes, such as Michael Sam,Jason Collins, Robbie RogersBrittney Griner, Orlando CruzMegan Rapinoe, Lori Lindsey and Tom Daley.

While much has changed for the LGBT since Louganis announced he was HIV-positive, HIV/AIDS remains a prevailing issue. Learn more here.


MyNewsLa: World’s greatest diver’s tough life revealed: gay, HIV, alcohol, money

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“Back on Board: Greg Louganis,” a documentary that the four-time Olympic gold medal-winning diver describes as “a raw look at my life,” premieres at 10 p.m. Tuesday night on HBO.

Louganis openly discusses what he called his “struggles with life in general — not just being gay, living with HIV, trying to find acceptance in a solitary sport and the world around me, but also life as a recovering alcoholic, the threat of losing my home due to some bad business decisions, the possibility of filing bankruptcy.”

The documentary was sparked by producer Will Sweeney reading a 2011 New York Times story about Louganis returning to diving as a mentor after being away from the sport for more than 20 years after winning gold medals in springboard and platform events in the 1988 Summer Olympics, according to Cheryl Furjanic, who directed the documentary and was among its writers and producers. She spoke last week during HBO’s portion of the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills.

Furjanic said Sweeney contacted her because of a documentary she made on synchronized swimming.

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POZ: Greg Louganis on His Documentary and How He’s Really Doing With HIV

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Olympic diver Greg Louganis became a household name when he won gold medals in 1984 and in 1988—which was also the year the diver famously hit his head on the board and bled into the water. The athlete made more headlines when he came out as gay and HIV positive. And he makes another media splash August 4, when HBO airs Back on Board: Greg Louganis, a documentary about his complex and controversial life.

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Decider: “Back on Board” Director Cheryl Furjanic Talk Louganis Legacy & Importance of Queer Storytelling


What do you know about Greg Louganis? Perhaps that he’s widely considered the greatest diver in the history of the sport. Perhaps that he hit his head on the springboard in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and still went on to win the gold. Perhaps that he publicly came out both as gay and HIV-positive in 1995. But Louganis was out of the public eye — and the diving world — for most of the past twenty years. A new HBO Sports Documentary, Back on Board: Greg Louganis — which premieres tonight — explores Louganis’ diving career, his personal struggles, and his return to the sport where he made his name. Decider spoke with the film’s director Cheryl Furjanic (she also produced the film with Will Sweeney), about working with Louganis, the importance of sharing queer stories, and why this documentary resonates far beyond the world of sports.

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NY Daily News: HBO documentary ‘Greg Louganis: Back On Board’ explores Olympic diver’s troubled waters


BEVERLY HILLS – For Greg Louganis, nailing the three-and-a-half reverse pike was the easy part.

Executing that convoluted plunge, the most difficult move in Louganis’s sport of diving, secured his second gold medal in the 1988 Olympics, not to mention his reputation as the best diver ever.

But Tuesday’s new 10 p.m. HBO documentary “Greg Louganis: Back On Board” suggests the rest of the waters were more troubled – and not just because he was one of the first world-class athletes to come out as gay.

More than a quarter-century later, Louganis is tanned and fit enough so he looks like he could stand up and reprise the three-and-a-half pike right now.

He got married two years ago and says of his husband, Johnny Chaillot, “I love him more and more each day.”

On the other side, Louganis seems guarded. He’s been burned in relationships, professional and personal. He was diagnosed as HIV-positive many years ago.

He never got the endorsements other Olympics champions often scored, meaning money has, on and off, been a serious issue.


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Time Magazine: “Athlete Greg Louganis on His New Documentary: ‘I Was Thinking I Was Not Going to See 30′”


One of the most prominent American athletes of the 1980s, Greg Louganis is back in the public eye—and he’s hoping to show the average TV viewer that he’s really just like you.

With Back on Board: Greg Louganis, airing August 4 at 10pm ET on HBO, Louganis opened up his complex life to a documentarian’s camera. The diver, who competed in the 1976, 1984, and 1988 Olympics (winning four gold medals in the process), declared he was HIV-positive after his final Olympics, causing a controversy over the blood he spilled after an injury. He’s also undergone a series of personal challenges, including financial hardship coinciding with the 2008 financial crisis.

Back on Board depicts Louganis taking gigs for cash, including a job judging a diving competition; we also see him recounting the path that brought him to fame first as one of the world’s top athletes and then as one of the earliest out gay celebrities. Louganis spoke to TIME about the film and what he’s learned through a life in public.

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People Magazine: “Olympic Diver Greg Louganis: ‘I Was Stronger Than I Ever Gave Myself Credit for'”


Greg Louganis knows he’s not perfect.

And now, the openly gay Olympic diver is reliving all his “mistakes” in the new HBO documentary Back on Board.

“I kind of squirm in my seat and feel a little awkward and say ‘Oh my God. I made that same mistake again,’ ” Louganis says of watching the final cut of the documentary, which premieres Tuesday. “I’ve been through an amazing but really crazy journey. Mine is a story of perseverance and seeing things change.”

In addition to reliving his gold-medal wins at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games, Back on Board chronicles Louganis’ journey as he came out as gay and was outed as HIV positive.

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Advocate: 7 Things That Are Everything This Week

7T-150730-0Back on Board: Greg Louganis 
Director Cheryl Furjanic explores the public triumphs and personal struggles of gay Olympic champion Greg Louganis as he reemerges on the world stage to combat prejudice, promote tolerance, and return to the diving world after a long period of absence in the candid documentary Back on Board: Greg Louganis. The film, which debuts Tuesday at 10 p.m. Eastern on HBO, follows Louganis over a three-year period as he face financial troubles, returns to the sport he once dominated but was not welcomed in, and reflects on the choices, relationships, and missed opportunities of his career. This intimate portrait of the trailblazing athlete reveals the complicated life of an American legend whose talents sparked global interest in the sport of diving and whose courage and perseverance as an HIV-positive man moved a nation.



Advocate: Olympic diver talked the struggles of LGBT athletes while discussing his new documentary, Back on Board.


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Greg Louganis expressed empathy for fellow LGBT Olympian Caitlyn Jenner.

The gay diver, who won Olympic gold medals in 1984 and 1988, opened up about the paths LGBT athletes take, as they weigh the risks of coming out in an arena that may not be welcoming.

“We all have our journeys. Whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, we all have our own journeys,” he said at an event promoting his new documentary, Greg Louganis: Back on Board, reports The Associated Press.

The 55-year-old Olympian said that he “had no idea” of Jenner’s stuggle with her gender identity throughout their athletic careers. They both competed at the 1976 Summer Olympics, where Jenner won the men’s decathlon and Louganis earned a silver medal.

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TV Insider: What’s Worth Watching: a Greg Louganis documentary on HBO

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DIVING BACK IN: As its punny title suggests, the affecting HBO Sports documentary Back on Board: Greg Louganis is something of a comeback story for the celebrated Olympic diver, although at first look the film has the feel of an especially forlorn “Whatever Happened To …” segment. Now 55 and grayed, though with flashes of that eternally boyish handsome grin, Louganis is heard on the phone wrangling with bank officials about restructuring a loan for his heavily mortgaged Malibu home. He admits he’s selling mementos and belongings to make ends meet, desperate not to lose his dream house of 27 years. (He bought an RV just in case he and his pets were suddenly evicted.)

With that, we replay the highs and lows of Louganis’s legendary career, with his elegant dives described as “like ballet in air,” capped by back-to-back double Olympic Gold Medal wins in 1984 and 1988 (the latter after suffering an injury when he hit his head on the diving board in a preliminary round, an incident that incited controversy and backlash when he later came out as gay and HIV-positive). Louganis looks back in pride at his achievements, but also with wistful regret at how unhappy he was during the peak of his celebrity, emotionally withdrawn and conflicted about his sexual orientation. “Never got a Wheaties box,” he muses as he reflects on how rumors of his homosexuality hindered him from scoring lucrative endorsement deals in the wake of his Olympic triumphs.

His transformation from athlete to activist makes for compelling biography, and his poignant return to the sport as a mentor to the USA diving team at the 2012 London Olympics gives Back on Board a satisfying and moving conclusion—with a touch of happily-ever-after in his midlife relationship, initiated on, with the man who would become his husband.

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NPR All Things Considered: ‘Who Am I Without My Sport?’ Greg Louganis On Life After Olympics [RADIO]


Greg Louganis is the best diver of his generation — perhaps the best the world has ever seen. The four-time gold medalist is the only man to ever sweep the diving events in consecutive Olympics.

The new documentary Back on Board, by director Cheryl Furjanic and producer Will Sweeney, contrasts that success with the inner turmoil Louganis experienced rising to stardom at such a young age.

Much of the film, which premieres Tuesday on HBO, focuses on one of the most pivotal moments of Greg Louganis’s career. At the Seoul Olympics in 1988, he was going for his third gold medal when he hit his head on the springboard.

“The first emotion I felt, I was embarrassed — because this is the Olympic games! I’m supposed to be a pretty good diver,” Louganis tells NPR’s Arun Rath. “Pretty good divers don’t do that.”

He talks with Rath about getting back into the competition after that experience, as well as coming out as a gay and HIV-positive athlete.


Lavender Magazine: Uplifting HBO Documentary on Greg Louganis: A Story of Herculean Struggle and Triumph


No diver in recorded history has achieved the level of greatness as Olympic diving champion, Greg Louganis. The HBO Sports documentary, Back on Board: Greg Louganis, captivates with up close and personal interviews. It will appeal to audiences across the sexual orientation spectrum and to both sports fans and those who don’t follow sports at all. There’s no way that anyone can deny both his drive, his endurance, his discipline, and his four Olympic gold medals.

Cheryl Furjanic’s magnetic documentary probes his difficult past while always tapping into Louganis’ sparkling personality. He was adopted as a baby and ostracized at school by other kids, sometimes accompanied by racial and gay slurs. He was jeered by slurs from his own American Olympic teammates for being too friendly with the Soviet divers.

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Akron Beacon Journal: To Do List – HBO’s Louganis Bio


Dive into some TV
Olympic champion Greg Louganis’ career and life are covered in Back on Board, a documentary premiering at 10 p.m. Tuesday on HBO.
The film, which was also shown at the Cleveland International Film Festival in March, looks at his sporting triumphs, his coming out and even his financial struggles in recent years.
“Greg’s story is connected to so many important moments in American history, including the Olympics, the AIDS epidemic, the gay rights movement and even the recent home-foreclosure crisis,” writer-producer Will Sweeney said in a prepared statement. “Greg’s return to diving to mentor the Olympic team [in 2012] gave us a natural way to tell his unique story and explore his enduring legacy.”

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GLAAD: Must-See LGBT TV: ‘Back on Board: Greg Louganis’ premieres on HBO


The new documentary film Back on Board: Greg Louganis premieres Tuesday. The film tells the story of the four-time Olympic gold medal winner and his journey from child prodigy to Olympic diving champion and pioneering gay, HIV-positive athlete to often overlooked sports icon. Louganis, who now spends much of his time mentoring young athletes, remains the only male and the second diver in Olympic history to sweep the diving events in consecutive Olympic Games. Back on Board: Greg Louganis: Tuesday, 10pm on HBO.



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Huffington Post: For ‘Back On Board,’ Greg Louganis Looks Back On His Legacy, LGBT Rights


BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 30:  Olympic diver Greg Louganis speaks onstage during the 'Back On Board: Greg Louganis' panel discussion at the HBO portion of the 2015 Summer TCA Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 30, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JULY 30: Olympic diver Greg Louganis speaks onstage during the ‘Back On Board: Greg Louganis’ panel discussion at the HBO portion of the 2015 Summer TCA Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 30, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

A new HBO documentary all about his life, “Back on Board: Greg Louganis” (debuting Tuesday, Aug. 4), points to the intense fear surrounding homosexuality that likely was responsible for the lack of endorsements for a sports superstar who wasn’t even openly gay at the time but was rumored to be so within the sporting world and the media.

“It’s great, the progress we’ve made!” Louganis exclaimed in an interview with me on SiriusXM Progress when he was shown the Wheaties box featuring Wolfson. Indeed, the film reveals how much Louganis himself contributed to that progress, as a prominent sports figure who came out both as gay and as HIV positive during a time when there was much less acceptance. After he revealed his HIV status in the 1990s, Louganis lost most of the endorsements he had. (An exception was Speedo, which retained him though 2007.)

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Los Angeles Times: Greg Louganis dives into the spotlight with HBO’s ‘Back on Board’


The limelight now though seems to be swinging back to the four-time Olympic gold medalist — at least for a little while. The 55-year-old retired diving superstar is the subject of “Back on Board: Greg Louganis,” a documentary (premiering Tuesday at 10 p.m. on HBO) that examines his dizzying spiral to glory in the 1980s as well as his stunning professional and financial setbacks since. The film recounts the homophobia that he and others suspect played a role in stunting his career. With the cameras rolling, he pleads over the phone with a bank representative for mortgage relief that would allow him to keep his house.

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US News & World Report: Louganis Was Not Asked to be Olympic Commentator



Louganis said Thursday he hasn’t been asked by longtime Olympic network NBC to serve as a commentator for his sport at the Games.

Louganis was asked if thought being gay was a reason NBC didn’t hire him.

“I think in ’92 it was more fear of my health status… in ’92, people were still dying,” he said, suggesting that NBC somehow gained knowledge of his condition before it was made public. He declined to offer further details.

The HBO documentary, directed by Cheryl Furjanic, promises to examine Louganis’ public triumphs and private struggles of a trailblazer.

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ESPN: Greg Louganis on Caitlyn Jenner: ‘We all have our journeys’



BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Greg Louganis said he was unaware of fellow Olympian Bruce Jenner’s gender identity struggle when their paths crossed at the Summer 1976 Games and in later years.

Louganis, the diving great who was among the first prominent athletes to come out as gay, said Thursday he has yet to speak with the now-Caitlyn Jenner but can appreciate what she’s going through.

“We all have our journeys. Whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, we all have our own journeys,” Louganis, 55, told reporters during a Q&A session on the HBO documentary “Greg Louganis: Back on Board,” which makes its debut Tuesday.

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San Francisco Chronicle: Greg Louganis: beneath the surface in HBO’s ‘Back on Board’



Life hasn’t always been easy for Greg Louganis. By all rights, it should have been, but only recently has the Olympic record-holder come to a full understanding that the obstacles he has had to overcome have made him stronger as an athlete and a man.

Louganis is the subject of “Back on Board,” a biographical documentary by Cheryl Furjanic airing Tuesday, Aug. 4, on HBO after making the rounds of the LGBT film festivals.

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SanDiegoTribune: Greg Louganis: ‘Back on Board’


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Tell-all documentary chronicles El Cajon-born diver’s journey back into the limelight

Louganis’ journey is chronicled in a documentary that makes its television premiere at 10 p.m. Tuesday on HBO. “Back on Board: Greg Louganis,” which has been making the rounds at film festivals around the country, tells the story of Louganis’ difficult childhood all the way to his life after the Olympics, painting a picture of a life not so golden, a portrait of a man whose public triumphs overshadowed his private struggles.

For three years, starting in May 2011, filmmakers Cheryl Furjanic and Will Sweeney filmed Louganis. They chronicled his comeback, personally and professionally.

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TheWrap: Greg Louganis: ‘We All Have Our Own Journeys’

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Olympic diver Greg Louganis says he had no idea his fellow Olympian Bruce Jenner would one day transition to a woman.

During a panel for HBO documnetary “Back on Board: Greg Louganis,” the athlete recalled marching with the decathlon Olympic gold medalist in the 1976 Games, and then going on the Tour of Champions together in 2007, along with several other Olympians.

“I remember they would always put me with [Bruce Jenner] and Mark Spitz, and I was always like, ‘why do you always have to put me with these guys?’ because I could never get a word in edgewise,” Louganis said onstage during the Television Critics’ Association’s summer press tour. “We all have our own journeys, that’s what’s so apparent in ‘Back on Board.’”

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Deadline Hollywood: Greg Louganis At HBO Session For Docu ‘Back On Board’ – TCA

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 30:  Olympic diver Greg Louganis speaks onstage during the 'Back On Board: Greg Louganis' panel discussion at the HBO portion of the 2015 Summer TCA Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 30, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JULY 30: Olympic diver Greg Louganis speaks onstage during the ‘Back On Board: Greg Louganis’ panel discussion at the HBO portion of the 2015 Summer TCA Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 30, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Was four-time Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis privy to Bruce Jenner’s identity struggle during the height of their athletic fame? Louganis was at HBO’s TCA session this afternoon as he’s the subject of the August 4 documentary Back On Board: Greg Louganis. In comparison to the turmoil that Louganis weathered, today’s society has by and large accepted and embraced Jenner’s decision to become Caitlyn. Louganis didn’t have a similar experience when it was revealed that he was HIV-positive in 1995. There weren’t any reality TV shows on E! making Louganis the star. There wasn’t a Vanity Fair cover shoot. Most of Louganis’ corporate sponsors dropped him, except for Speedo, which stayed with him through 2007. Nonetheless, Louganis marched on, switching careers and heading into acting, which he still pursues.

Director Cheryl Furjanic explained that she became inspired to make a movie about Louganis after her producer Will Sweeney heard that the diver was heading back to the sport. Said Furjanic, “We asked ourselves, why was this diver away for 20 years?…We were committed to figuring that out.”

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AP: Louganis contemplates his, fellow Olympian Jenner’s journeys

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“We all have our journeys. Whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, we all have our own journeys,” Louganis, 55, told reporters during a Q&A session on the HBO documentary “Greg Louganis: Back on Board,” debuting Tuesday.

The response to Jenner’s candor, including her own reality series and an ESPY award for courage, contrasts sharply with Louganis’ experience before and after disclosing his orientation in 1992 and, in 1995, that he was HIV-positive.

He became the only man in diving history to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in both springboard and platform diving, in 1984 and ’88, but found that opportunities available to other Olympic stars eluded him. He’s said previously he came to believe it was because his sexuality had not remained a secret within his sport when he had yet to come out.

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MetroSource: “Back on Board: Greg Louganis” to Debut on HBO

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An intimate documentary chronicling the life of Olympic diver Greg Louganis will debut on Tuesday, August 4 at 10pm on HBO.
In an era when some blog somewhere is posting on Tom Daley every week (and that’s just in the off-season), it can be easy to forget what a recent phenomenon it is to support our gay athletes. Cheryl Furjanic’s new film shows Louganis as a trailblazer in his time, enduring his being called a fag by his own teammates, let alone the public.

While the main elements of Louganis’s story are well-known — the gold medals in 1984, the accident in Seoul, the subsequent HIV disclosure — Back on Board fills in the gaps of his biography, from his childhood marked by bullying and depression and even the recent home-foreclosure crisis.

Next Magazine: Greg Louganis Gets ‘Back On Board’

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The two-time Olympic gold medalist bares all for director Cheryl Furjanic in ‘Back on Board’.

Olympic diver and HIV/AIDS activist Greg Louganis is making another splash with Back on Board, a tell-all documentary premiering August 4 on HBO. While Louganis spent years dodging the media’s coverage of his sexuality, he holds nothing back for director Cheryl Furjanic, who creates an emotional portrait of his incredible career and his challenging private life.

“I had my reservations initially, but in the time that I spent with Cheryl, she became my therapist,” Louganis says of granting Furjanic such unprecedented access. “I had confidence that it would be a story that was told with love.”

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Newsday: Greg Louganis ‘honored and humbled’ by HBO documentary ‘Back on Board’


by Neil Best 

Greg Louganis was among the biggest sports stars of the 1980s, winning gold medals in both platform and springboard diving in both the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games.

But he never fully cashed in on marketing that stardom, in part because of rumors that he was gay, something he later confirmed publicly, along with the fact he is HIV positive.

HBO looks back at all of that, and what Louganis’ life is like today, in “Back on Board,” a documentary that premieres at 10 p.m. Tuesday. At 55, he has become a vocal advocate for LGBT causes.

“I am so thrilled, honored and humbled; this film has the power to saves,” Louganis said after a screening in Manhattan.

The first time he saw the film, he said, “It was a little awkward, because I was seeming to make the same mistakes over and over again and that’s a little embarrassing. When am I going to learn this lesson? You’re going to learn it when you’re ready to learn it.”

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CBS This Morning: Olympic diver Greg Louganis on tell-all documentary [VIDEO]

Queerty: Greg Louganis Dives In Again To Share His Powerful Personal Story

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On August 4, HBO will premiere Back On Board: Greg Louganis. The film, which won the audience award for documentary feature at Outfest in 2014, is an up close and personal look at the life of the four-time Olympic gold medalist, now 55. It examines the many hardships Louganis has faced — before, during and after his Olympic glory — as well as the choices, relationships and missed opportunities that he has experienced throughout his career.

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Towleroad: “Olympian Greg Louganis Details His Struggles With Team America’s Homophobia in New Biopic ‘Back on Board’ – WATCH”

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by Anthony Costello

A new biopic on four-time gold medal Olympian and gay athlete Greg Louganis called Back on Board is airing on HBO in August, with a new introspective on Louganis’ time in the Olympics, the homophobia he dealt with from fellow teammates, his HIV disclosure controversy and mentoring the next generation of Olympic-American divers.

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LarryKingNow: “Greg Louganis And HBO Documentary Director Talk Olympics, Caitlyn Jenner, And Role Models” [INTERVIEW]

Olympic gold medalist diver Greg Louganis and his life since coming out as gay and HIV+ in 1995 is the subject of the upcoming HBO documentary ‘Back on Board,’ by filmmaker Cheryl Furjanic.


by Laura Hertzfeld

Throughout the 1980s, Olympic diver Greg Louganis was a symbol of American grace and athleticism – he was the saving hope of the U.S. Olympic Diving Team, earning four gold medals in 1984 and 1988 on both springboard and platform diving boards. After hitting his head on the board at the 1988 games, he bounced back from near-tragedy to win yet again. But it wasn’t until 1995 with the publication of his autobiographyBreaking The Surface – detailing both his wins and the shocking news that he was gay and HIV+ – that Louganis became an icon to a generation. Almost 30 years later, however, his story has faded into the background. What happened to Louganis after his public coming out, including his financial struggles through the recession and his life now, is the focus of a new documentary from filmmaker and NYU professor Cheryl Furjanic. “I wanted to tell Greg’s story to different audiences, but to me he’s such an important part of sports history, LGBT history, and HIV/AIDS history. That is his legacy. They almost can’t make it up that his story is so entrenched in American history,” she says.

Larry King Now spoke with Louganis and Furjanic separately about the film and what they hope audiences learn from his story. Back on Board airs on HBO August 4 at 10pm.

Larry King Now: What do you hope people get out of the film?

Cheryl Furjanic: It feels like a missing slice of history. It’s important for people to know Greg’s story. In the history of HIV/AIDS, it’s important to see where he fits into that. He has the most incredible power of resilience and that’s an important takeaway for audiences, too. I’m hoping that he would have a career resurgence because of the film. That he can continue his great work – on aftercare, on anti bullying. He really has so much to offer on so many different levels.

Greg Louganis: I think something that I learned when I wrote Breaking The Surface – I was fearful that I was sharing all my weaknesses, but in sharing my weaknesses I was actually sharing my strength. And I feel the same way about Back on the Board. When people take a look at this, the black mold scare of 2006 and the ridiculous loans of 2007 and Countrywide, B of A – people who’ve been through all of that – they weren’t the only ones. I felt dumb and stupid, but then I learned, ‘Hey, I’m not the only one.’ I realized, ‘Oh, wow, I wasn’t alone in all this.’ So I think that by sharing those perceived weaknesses you’re actually sharing your strength and also empowering people that, hey, you can get through this, too.

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TheBackLot: “Watch! Greg Louganis Gets “Back On Board” In HBO Documentary”

Back On Board: Greg Louganis will debut on HBO on Tuesday, August 4 at 10PM ET


Long before Tom Daley and Matthew Mitcham (and lesser known gay Olympic divers Matthew Helm, Jhonmar Castillo and Patrick Jeffrey), there was Greg Louganis.

Greg won gold in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, and remains the only male diver to sweep the diving events in consecutive Olympic Games. He was also gay and HIV Positive, and when those two facts were revealed to the public, Greg paid the price, as his lucrative endorsements deals dried up, and he became a pariah in the diving world.

Those details were chronicled in his 1996 bestseller Breaking The Surface, and next month HBO will be airing Back On Board, a documentary that traces his story from childhood, to his history-making diving career, and the difficulties and triumphs in his post-Olympic life.

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Huffington Post: “Greg Louganis – Back on Board, Big Time!”


by Donnie Demers

I hope you will take the time to watch HBO’s Aug 4th premier (at 10 p.m.) of Back on Board – Greg Louganis. We can’t fill our cups up high enough with inspiration, and inspiration is what you will find in the second chapter of this amazing man’s life.

It has been said that great heroes need great sorrows and burdens, or half of their greatness goes unnoticed. But in reality, talent of any great depth is born in the dark. It isn’t until that spotlight is turned on, that applause is even possible.

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GregInHollywood: “Must-see TV – “Back on Board” – to premiere on HBO on August 4 “

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Greg Louganis is one of my all-time heroes so I’m very much looking forward to August 4 when Back On Board: Greg Louganis premieres on HBO.

The Cheryl Furjanic film chronicles the life of the Olympic diving legend who won two gold medals at the 1988 Olympics, two gold medals at the 1984 Olympics and a silver medal at the 1976 Olympics as a 16-year-old high school student.

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IndieWire: HBO To Air Greg Louganis Doc ‘Back On Board’ In August

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by Jamie Gates

HBO continues to uphold its reputation as a major platform for the best LGBT documentaries, this time with the announcement that it will air Cheryl Furjanic’s film “Back On Board: Greg Louganis,” which chronicles the life of the LGBT trailblazer and Olympic gold medal diver.

“Greg Louganis is one of the most decorated and celebrated Olympians of any generation, and we are delighted to share his story – both personal and athletic – with the acquisition of this documentary,” said Ken Hershman, president, HBO Sports. “Greg allowed the filmmakers unrestricted access to his life story and viewers will benefit from this deeply personal portrait and gain a terrific perspective on his complicated and rewarding life.”

“Back on Board” traces Greg’s story from a difficult childhood, through his Olympic conquests, to a transformative post-Olympic life, outlining the discrimination and other obstacles he has faced throughout his remarkable journey. The film will debut August 4th at 10pm exclusively on HBO.

“I think it is awesome that ‘Back on Board’ has found a home with HBO Sports. At times, it’s awkward and a little bit embarrassing to reveal so much of myself – it’s a true documentary. I am honored and humbled to share my story,” Louganis himself said.

Mark your calendars. 

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RealScreen: “Back on Board” to make a splash on HBO in August

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U.S. cable network HBO has set an August premiere date for critically acclaimed doc Back on Board: Greg Louganis.

The 86-minute film, directed by Cheryl Furjanic and produced by Will Sweeney and Furjanic, traces the life and career of diver and four-time Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis, often credited as one of the first openly gay American athletes, and highlights one of the defining moments of Louganis’ career: hitting his head on a diving board in a dive during the preliminary round of the 1988 Seoul Games, and sustaining a cut that required five stitches, then winning gold only days later. Though initially lauded for his competitive spirit, Louganis was later criticized when he announced that he was HIV-positive, setting off a nationwide discussion over HIV/AIDS and sports.

Having premiered at Washington DC’s AFI Docs festival in June 2014, the film has recently completed a successful festival circuit that included audience award wins at both the Outfest Los Angeles Film Festival and the Connecticut LGBT Film Festival. The film also took home best documentary feature film at the Annapolis Film Festival and best editing at the Salem Film Festival.

Exec produced by David Kaplan and Joan Kaplan, Grey Sample and Diana Holtzberg, Back on Board: Greg Louganis premieres August 4 at 10 p.m. EST/PST on HBO and its platforms including HBO Now, HBO On Demand and HBO Go.

“Greg Louganis is one of the most decorated and celebrated Olympians of any generation, and we are delighted to share his story – both personal and athletic – with the acquisition of this documentary,” said Ken Hershman, president of HBO Sports, in a statement. “Greg allowed the filmmakers unrestricted access to his life story and viewers will benefit from this deeply personal portrait and gain a terrific perspective on his complicated and rewarding life.”

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Out Magazine: Watch Promo for “Back on Board: Greg Louganis” Doc

Directed by Cheryl Furjanic, the documentary Back on Board: Greg Louganis tells the story of the one of the greatest divers ever — from his difficult childhood, through his Olympic conquests, to a transformative post-Olympic life as an LGBT activist — and his impact as one of the first openly gay athletes in the United States. After being screened at festivals, the film is now going to debut August 4 on HBO Sports.

“I always wondered what happened to Greg Louganis,” Furjanic says. “When we first approached him, we had no idea that we would find him facing such difficulties. During the three years we spent making this film, one thing that became clear is Greg’s resilience. HBO is the perfect platform to reach both audiences who cheered Greg on during the Olympics and a younger generation who has never heard of him.”

As writer-producer Will Sweeney explains: “Greg’s story is connected to so many important moments in American history, including the Olympics, the AIDS epidemic, the gay rights movement and even the recent home-foreclosure crisis. Greg’s return to diving to mentor the Olympic team gave us a natural way to tell his unique story and explore his enduring legacy. We are thrilled to release the film with HBO Sports.”

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Advocate: “Where Hollywood Fails, LGBT Film Fests Shine”

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“Film festivals also provide moviegoers the opportunity to meet and interact with LGBT pioneers, allies, and personal heroes — such as out Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis, whose appearance at this year’s Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival (pictured right) in support of his award-winning documentaryBack on Board was an emotional experience for one attendee.

“Watching Greg come back from that accident to win the gold at the ’88 Olympics was truly inspiring, but to learn a few years later what he had to overcome as a gay person to get to that moment made him a hero to me,” said one festival attendee. “Getting to meet him today and tell him that was so important to me. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.”

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Celebrate Giving Tuesday


Today is #GivingTuesday — a national day of giving, raising funds and awareness for important causes everywhere. If you’re looking to celebrate, we ask that you to consider making a tax-deductible donation to support the distribution of our documentary. It takes a village to make an independent documentary! We are thrilled to have had such an incredible team of supporters so far and we hope that you consider becoming a member (or re-committing to our team) today!

Back on Board Director Cheryl Furjanic Named to Out Magazine’s “Out100” most compelling people


OUT100: Cheryl Furjanic & Nancy Kates


Cheryl Furjanic’s documentary, Back on Board: Greg Louganis, about the life of the legendary Olympic diver, received a standing ovation during June’s Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco. “It has been deeply moving to see audience members touched by the film — especially gay men who are close to Greg’s age,” Furjanic (left) says. “Many of them lost partners and friends to AIDS, and many have been living with AIDS for decades.”

Filmmaker Nancy Kates’s documentary, Regarding Susan Sontag, premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, where it received a Special Jury Citation. Like Sontag, arguably the 20th century’s most glamorous public intellectual, Kates (right) enjoyed pursuits that weren’t purely cerebral. “My festival circuit highlights included going on some nice dates at Frameline that led to a lovely new relationship, and a proposal of marriage from an audience member — a stranger — at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.” The lowlight: “Sleeping on a cot in a dining room at a festival in Norway.”Photographed at ACME Studio, Brooklyn on September 15, 2014Styling by Michael Cook. Hair and Makeup: Angela DiCarlo. Vintage dresses available at Early Halloween, NYC.

Photography by JUCO | Retouching by Anna Glen at Wet Noodle
The Moment: 1935: Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas are photographed by Cecil Beaton.


Featured Press During Kickstarter Campaign


We have gotten some great advanced press about our film production from our successful Kickstarter campaign.

The New York Daily News called our film “an American comeback story“.

The New York Times featured the film’s successful fundraising efforts.

A.V. Club urges readers to help “give Greg Louganis the movie he deserves.

Death+Taxes Magazine predicted our film will “capture our imagination and impact our cultural conversation”. wrote the film is an “exciting new chapter to [Greg Louganis’s] life-story”.

Passport Magazine offered the “film as an opportunity to reintroduce a true pioneer to the American public”.

Reel Movie Nation encouraged their audience “to support these filmmakers and make this film a reality!

IndieWire honored the film as “Project of the Month” for most promising upcoming documentary film.

CNN highlighted a clip from the film’s trailer during a discussion of the Sochi Olympics.

People Magazine used exclusive photos from the film in an article about Greg’s wedding.