Greg Louganis, the man who mastered the art of diving that no one else could replicate so far in the history of men’s diving, feels that focusing on success could paralyse an athlete but it is about trying to bring out one’s best that could produce an Olympic medal.
In the city as the international event ambassador of Tata Steel Kolkata 25K event, Louganis presented himself as an example to the present generation sportsperson saying he used adversities in life to do better in diving. Winner of five Olympic medals - four golds and a silver - Louganis said after being diagnosed with HIV, he became more focused about diving and won two golds in Seoul Olympics in 1988.
“In some ways it was a blessing (being diagnosed as HIV positive) for me as I got this disease when I was working towards a goal of making it to the Olympic team. So rather than sitting in my room and stir and ruminate over my situation of living with HIV, I focused on my diving which was some thing positive where I could pour all my focus and energy on. The pool became my sanctuary where HIV did not exist,” he said in an interaction.
Rated as the most successful men’s platform and spring-board diver in the history of the sport, Louganis said he never looked at scoreboards and just focused on his performance. “My focus was not for glory but I just wanted to be the best that I could possibly be. It really put things in perspective for me,” he said. “When you get to the pinnacle of the sport or anything, it may even be art, that takes your focus and energy. I thought I was able to put my energy into something positive rather than dwelling on my situation and feeling sorry for myself,” he said.
“I keep telling to those who I mentor that if you get success then never get too deeply into it. When you have an incredible performance, it is like a piece of art. It is not going to be reproduced. I encourage them to be open and never start judging a situation. It is not about being perfect because often perfection leads to procrastination. It is not going to be the perfect dive every time that is going to win an Olympic medal,” Louganis said before signing off.