Greg Louganis Heads to Arizona

By Tab Sylvester, Jan. 1, 2015.

An inspirational force in the athletic and LGBT communities, Olympic gold medalist, motivational speaker and author Greg Louganis will be back in Arizona for two engagements in the month ahead.

Louganis will be one of the guest speakers featured at Sedona World Wisdom Days, Jan.15 -19. He will also participate in the opening reception of the Desperado Film Festival, Jan. 23, ahead of the screening of his new film, Back on Board: Greg Louganis.

Echo caught up with Louganis ahead of his Arizona appearances to talk about his latest career endeavors.

Echo: Where do you call home? What do you love about the LGBT community there?

Louganis: I lived in Malibu for 29 years, but earlier this year I moved in with my husband in Beverly Hills and sold the Malibu house. My life is quite integrated, so I have many straight and LGBT friends and I love them all.

Echo: Have you been to Arizona before? If so, care to share your connection to the Grand Canyon State?

Louganis: I have been in Arizona many times for many different reasons; diving, training in Tucson in my early teens, dog agility USDAA Nationals for a number of years, camps/workshops (mostly for diving), also speaking at various events in the state.

Echo: Do you have any particular message to Arizona's LGBT community?

Louganis: Not really, just to remind the LGBT community to be active and vote, as in any community this is vital to affect change in perception and empowerment within the LGBT community.

Echo: Is there anything you plan to do or see while you are in Arizona?

Louganis: I am just so excited to be a part of the World Wisdom Days event in Sedona. Sedona, I have found, is such a magical place and I feel humbled and honored to be a part of this tremendous and esteemed line up of presenters.

Echo: Your documentary, Back on Board: Greg Louganis, will be showing at the Desperado Film Festival Jan. 23, tell me more about that project.

Louganis: [The film] is not released yet; it has only been making the rounds of the film festivals across the country. We are looking for distribution for the film. It is basically my history to present in diving and life. You can view our progress at

Echo: What have you been up to lately?

Louganis: Of course [I’ve been] busy with Back on Board, but I was able to attend, and be honorary host of, the Russian Open Games in Moscow. You can read more on that on my Huffington Post Gay Voices Blog at

Because of my theater background I was asked to take part in a play reading of Spring at the Willowbrook Inn. I was also honored to be a part of a “Human Rights First” panel. I also am an “Athlete Mentor” for USA Diving, as well as a judge on the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.

Echo: How did you become involved Sedona World Wisdom?

Louganis: It was in a Yoga class and a friend introduced me to Glenn Scarpelli, co-founder of Sedona World Wisdom Days, who I met with and worked out the details.

Echo: What should attendees expect from your lecture?

Louganis: I don’t really think of myself as a “lecturer,” but rather sharing the story and journey of my life. As we all have triumphs and challenges in life, I just happened to play much of that on the world stage. I will share my journey and life’s lessons, I hope in an inspiring yet practical way, relatable and solution based, with many of the elements of practices I do myself for mind, body and spiritual wellness.

Echo: How is this different than previous engagements you've done?

Louganis: Most of my speaking has been about what I have done; this, I feel, is more focused on how I did it, with the continuous focus on practices for success, not perfection.

Echo: What are you most looking forward to about being at the Sedona World Wisdom event?

Louganis: Just being in a line up of esteemed speakers; I am actually a little terrified! LOL! My strength in presenting is the Q&A. Most speakers shy away from that but I thrive on that aspect, I enjoy interaction with the audience.

Echo: How do to prepare for these motivational and public talks?

Louganis: Meditate. I usually have a skeletal structure, and generally follow where my heart and energy take me.

Echo: What do you enjoy most about traveling the country and delivering motivational speeches?

Louganis: Changing people’s perceptions of that of a gay married man living with HIV/AIDS can [involve] giving experience, hope and strength. Oh my! That is so AA! Yes, I am in recovery from alcoholism and addiction.

Echo: You’ve been married to your husband, Johnny Chaillot, for a little over a year now. Does he come with you to these public speaking events? If so, does he motivate or encourage you in any way?

Louganis: My husband comes when he can. Since he has a regular job, a paralegal at a rather large law firm, he picks and chooses which events to attend. He supports and inspires me every day! Together we were also a part of the CDC campaign to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS stigma.

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