More than 30 years after Greg Louganis won his first Olympic gold medal, the renowned diver will finally appear on the cover of a Wheaties box, a longtime symbol of athletic achievement. The announcement comes eight months after a petition advocating for his cover garnered thousands of signatures.
For Olympic gold medal winners, a Wheaties box cover “is almost a given,” wrote Louganis in a September article for the Huffington Post. But just after earning his first gold medal at the summer Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984, Louganis said a General Mills representative told a reporter that the Olympic diver was never considered for a Wheaties cover, because he didn’t share the same family values as the company.
“They didn’t come out and say it, but the message was loud and clear. They knew I was rumored to be gay and homosexuality wasn’t going to fly on a wholesome Wheaties box. Ouch,” Louganis wrote.
But General Mills announced Tuesday that Louganis, along with swimmer Janet Evans and hurdler Edwin Moses, will appear separately on the Wheaties box starting in May for the new Wheaties Legends series. The announcement follows a petition on Change.org that accrued 43,846 signatures within the past eight months advocating for Louganis’ cereal feature. The petition, created by Julie Sondgerath, was inspired by the 2014 HBO documentary, “Back on Board: Greg Louganis.”
After winning four gold medals, Louganis continues to work as a mentor to the U.S. Olympic diving team and also advocates for LGBT rights. The HBO documentary shares Louganis’ experience in the Olympics, secretly competing as HIV positive when he hit his head on the springboard in Seoul 1988, his financial struggles and coming out as a gay man in the 1980s.
“It’s incredible to see how far we’ve come as far as human rights,” Louganis said in an interview with General Mills. “I’d never thought I’d see this day, really. We’ve come so far, and to be able to celebrate that I think is really something very special.”