Five-time Olympic Medalist and arguably the world’s best diver, Greg Louganis, returns to the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series as the top official for the 11th edition of the annual championship. The event will kick off on April 12th on Miniloc Island in El Nido, Palawan and will travel to various location around the world as divers compete to become the Cliff Diving World Series Champion.

Louganis returns to the event as the tournament’s sports director for the 3rd year in a row. He was first named as the sports director in 2017 to officiate the event. He originally joined the tournament as a judge and was promoted to the director after his friend, fellow competitor and the tournament’s original director Niki Stajkovic passed away.

Part of Louganis’ duties as director including overseeing the athletic and logistic aspects of the competition, including ensuring all safety measures are met and the standards of competition and rules are implemented consistently across all competitors and locations.

Louganis’ is most well-known for his successful diving career. Having competed in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal where he took silver. He was forced to skip the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow due to the US boycott but returned for the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympics where he became the first and only diver to win 2 consecutive gold medals in diving at a single Olympics and then consecutively at two Olympics. Louganis lives with HIV/AIDS and was diagnosed just prior to the 1988 Olympics but did not reveal his status nor his sexual orientation until the mid 1990s where he was subsequently shunned from the diving community. However, Louganis’ has been making a return to diving serving as a mentor for the 2012 US Olympic Team and the release of his documentary “Back on Board: Greg Louganis” which chronicles his story since coming out.

The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series originally started in 2009 and is part of the rise of extreme sports events that have become popular over the past decade. Divers jump from platforms between 26-28 meters high and are scored for the technical and artistic components to their dive based on a points system; similar to how competitive diving is scored. Various events are held around the world throughout the series and the World Series Champion is determined by the diver that has accumulated the most points by the end of the season.

By Dirk Smith