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Back On Board Greg Louganis, scores a perfect 10

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Back on Board Greg Louganis

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If you ever wanted to see a master class on documentary filmmaking, look no farther than Cheryl Furjanic’s film, Back on Board Greg Louganis, screening at the Outfest film festival this week.

Whether you are a fan of the Olympic champion diver or not you can’t help but be drawn into this fascinating and intimate portrait of the man, the athlete and the mentor.

Furjanic poetically weaves interviews and images of Louganis throughout his career. Beginning at the end, the doc looks to Louganis’s current struggle trying to find a new place in the sport that was never very accepting of him, while at the same time, he deals with the pressure of possibly losing his home of nearly thirty years to foreclosure.

Stunning archival footage traces his history from prodigal child diver, through the torment of high school bullying to the ultimate high of winning Olympic gold contrasted by the ultimate low of discovering his HIV positive status.

His rumored homosexuality no doubt cost him millions in endorsement deals and he never did grace the cover of a Wheaties box. However, through it all Louganis persevered. He bravely outed himself and his HIV status in his best-selling 1995 autobiography. Becoming at the time, what was just a few openly gay athletes. Without ever realizing its full impact Louganis, once again became a hero to millions of people.

In the end, the film comes full circle as Louganis becomes a mentor to the 2012 Olympic diving team. He is there to witness the next generation of divers achieve their highest potential with his support and guidance; just as he was guided so many years before.

Throughout the film, you find yourself holding your breath and cheering all over again for this quiet unassuming man that just wants to give back to the sport that gave him so much.

Back on Board Greg Louganis screens at 11a.m., July 19 at the Directors Guild of America. Click here for tickets.

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