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Who were your summer Olympic heroes?  

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Watching the summer Olympics in London, I have been wondering what has become of my summer Olympic heroes of yesteryears.  Past postings feature my heroes from the 1952 to the 1976 Games.

My favorite summer sports then—and now—are swimming, diving, gymnastics and track and field. You also can search the web for your own heroes.

Most of this information came from that mega grand site wikipedia.org. 

To access more information about each athlete,  put your cursor on the name. Click and open in a new tab. If you want even more information,put that name into your search engine, such as Google.

Note: The 1980 Moscow Olympics were boycotted by 65 countries, including the USA,  because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; thereby,  the Soviets and their block boycotted  the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

On to the 1984 Summer Olympics

Carl Lewis

Carl Lewis, an American sprinter and long jumper won 10 Olympic medals, the first of which were at the 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Gold 1984 Los Angeles 100 m
Gold 1984 Los Angeles 200 m
Gold 1984 Los Angeles 4×100 m relay
Gold 1984 Los Angeles Long jump
Gold 1988 Seoul 100 m
Gold 1988 Seoul Long jump
Silver 1988 Seoul 200 m
Gold 1992 Barcelona 4×100 m relay
Gold 1992 Barcelona Long jump
Gold 1996 Atlanta Long jump

Lewis also won 10 World Championships medals, including 8 gold.  His world record in the indoor long jump set in 1984 still stands.  His 65 consecutive victories in the long jump over a span of 10 years is one of the sport’s longest undefeated records. He was part of the movement of track and field athletics  from an amateur sport to its present professional status, which enables  athletes to have longer careers.

Lewis has suffered with debilitating degenerative arthritis since 1993.

Despite all of his success and honors. Wikipedia reports that, unlike many other Olympic heroes, Lewis did not receive many endorsements because  the public’s perception of his being “aloof and egotistical ” and rumors of his being gay all of which hurt his  marketability. Nonetheless, Lewis has become a serious actor, appearing in several films.  He attempted to run for New Jersey Senate in 2011 but was disqualified because of residence requirements.

Greg Louganis

American Greg Louganis, considered to be the greatest diver of all time, won gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics in both the springboard and platform. (He also was predicted to win these events at the boycotted 1980 Moscow games where he did not compete.)  He also won silver in platform diving in the 1976 games.  Watch his diving on this beautiful video.

If you want to make the screen larger on a video, put your cursor over the image at the extreme right.  It will say—full screen.  Click.  You can always return to regular size by using the ESC key on your computer. (on the very top row, extreme left.)

If you want to skip or go back to see again, put your cursor on the small white and red ball on the left and move it to the position you want.

In  1995 in an interview with Oprah Winfrey,  announcing that he was gay, Louganis became “one of the most prominent openly gay athletes and personalities in American history“.

In his best-selling autobiography Breaking the Surface,  Louganis wrote about a relationship of domestic abuse and rape, teenage depression,  smoking and drinking at a young age, dyslexia and  that he was HIV positive since before the 1988 Olympics, which he did not reveal at the time.

His web site has many videos especially a most-see, most outstanding 1995 interview with Barbara Walters, which reveals Louganis’s life and  his being HIV positive.

Today, Louganis is a successful actor, diving coach, Olympic mentor, dog agility trainer, motivational speaker and activist. 


Mary Lou Retton

At the 1984 Los Angeles games, American gymnast Mary Lou Retton, only a high school sophomore, was the first female gymnast from outside Eastern Europe to win the Olympic all-around title. She also won two silver and two bronze medals.  One of her rewards was being the first woman athlete to have her picture on a Wheaties Breakfast of Champion box.  Her coaches were Béla and Márta Károlyi. Some of her movements on the uneven bar are still famous.

After the Olympics, Retton had many other endorsements including being a  supporter of the Reagan Administration.  In 1993 she and Dorothy Hammil of  winter Olympic fame were voted the most popular athlete in America.

Today, Retton,  her husband and four daughters live in Houston. She still does some acting, commercials, coaching motivational speaking and promotion of fitness. She has had a hip replacement.

There are many more heroes of the summer Olympics then and now.  Of my featured heroes most seem to extend their winnings to new careers still in the public eye especially through motivational speaking.