NEW YORK (AP) _ Greg Louganis, the only man to sweep diving gold medals at consecutive Olympics, disclosed he was infected with the AIDS virus when he hit his head during the 1988 Summer Games and bled into the pool.
Louganis, in an interview with ABC News ``20-20″ to be televised Friday, also said his wound was stitched by a doctor who didn’t know his condition and didn’t wear gloves.
In transcripts of the interview released Wednesday, Louganis, 35, said that he tested positive for the HIV virus just before the 1988 Games in Seoul and that it has developed into AIDS.
In the preliminaries of the 1988 springboard event, Louganis cracked his head on a reverse dive and became ``paralyzed with fear″ when he started bleeding in the pool.
``I was so stunned,″ Louganis said. ``I mean, what was going on in my mind at the time was, `What’s my responsibility? Do I say something?‴
``I just held my head ... I just wanted to hold the blood in,″ Louganis told interviewer Barbara Walters.
He did not reveal his condition to the U.S. Olympic Committee doctor who gave him five stitches, and felt sure the chlorinated water in the pool would kill the virus.
The next day, Louganis easily won the springboard gold. When it was over, he wrapped his arms around coach Ron O’Brien and sobbed.
He said he told his coach ``nobody will ever know what we’ve been through.″
He won four gold medals for springboard and platform diving at the Olympics in 1984 and 1988. He is the only diver to score consecutive perfect 10s in an international competition.
Louganis, who lives in Malibu, Calif., could not immediately be reached by The Associated Press for comment. Telephone calls to his attorney, Pat Benson, and spokeswoman, Maggie Meyerson, were not returned.
Louganis told Walters he received word that a former companion was dying of AIDS six months before the Seoul Games. He said he was tested and learned he was HIV positive.
``Dealing with HIV was really difficult for me because I felt like, `God, the U.S. Olympic Committee needs to know this ... U.S. Diving needs to know it,′ because what if I get sick at the Olympic Games and am unable to compete?″ he said.
But Louganis said he never told the USOC because ``I was encouraged not to.″
``By whom?″ Walters asked.
``By this small team of people ... doctor, coach.″
Asked if he wasn’t afraid that Louganis would hurt himself or infect someone else, O’Brien said:
``No, not really. Because there’s very, very little chance. If it were in a sport like boxing or wrestling, football, where there’s a lot of contact, personal contact, I would have been very concerned. But our sport is such that you don’t ever come close to anybody.″
Louganis disclosed that he was homosexual at the Gay Games in New York last year. Since retiring from diving, he has pursued an acting career and appeared in an off-Broadway play.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Wednesday that Louganis reveals his HIV infection in his forthcoming Random House book, ``Breaking the Surface.″
He is scheduled to start a 13-city tour next week in New York to publicize the book, which deals with AIDS, as well as Louganis’ homosexuality, dyslexia, racism he suffered because of his Samoan heritage, an allegedly abusive stepfather, teen-age depression and three suicide attempts, accoriding to Tom Perry, a spokesman for the publisher.
USOC president LeRoy Walker said the organization ``is saddened by the news that Greg Louganis is battling this deadly illness. And our prayers are with him in his fight. At the same time, we are again reminded about the need for precautions by doctors and trainers who treat injuries where blood is involved.″
Since 1989, the USOC has adopted strict guidelines about treatment and prevention of athletes’ blood, including rules that doctors, trainers and chiropractors use latex gloves.