Greg Louganis has a million and one stories, but have you heard the one about the time he declined to pose for a photograph with Vice President Mike Pence? The Olympic diving icon recently had a good reason to regale his Instagram and Twitter followers with the tale.
LGBTQ Nation first reported Louganis’s story, in which he recalls how he shared his struggles with the veep: “...having been bullied, suicide attempts, my challenges as a young gay man.” And Louganis noted, despite the emotional impact of his words, Pence’s attention apparently wandered, as if what he had said had gone in one ear, and out the other.
I've been asked many times about why I declined a photo op with @VP. I had told him of my struggles: having been bullied, suicide attempts, my challenges as a young gay man, as I spoke with him, he was there, but "not there," as if I had said nothing to him.— Gregory Louganis (@greglouganis) March 22, 2019
His mind may not have been “there” but Pence’s craving for positive publicity apparently hadn’t vanished. Louganis tweeted that the vice president asked for a picture and he refused. What Pence said next was perhaps worse than the request itself, given his anti-LGBTQ record: that he “would pray” for Louganis.
He then asked to take a picture together, & when I refused, he said he "would pray" for me. Akward! Which is why, as I wrote earlier, the photo op with the forward thinking, straight talking @PeteButtigieg, was an #Indiana photo op I welcomed! #PeteButtigieg #MikePence #Equality pic.twitter.com/1Q3JxDvdw6— Gregory Louganis (@greglouganis) March 22, 2019
And here’s the Instagram post with the photo of an Indiana politician he did agree to take: Louganis is on the right and in the center is South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a prospective Democrat for president. On the left is musician Evan Henzi, who Louganis calls “an early supporter of ‘Mayor Pete.’”
View this post on Instagram
A few years back, @vp #MikePence, who fights every day against basic equality, asked me to meet with him in his office in Indiana. I took the meeting, but when he asked for a photo op (think about that), I declined. This past week, I met a candidate for President that provided an alternative Indiana photo op: @pete.buttigieg, rightly getting a lot of positive attention, is someone I am proud to stand next to in a photo. Special mention of @evanhenzi, also in this pic, he's a smart, talented artist, and wisely, an early supporter of #mayorpete. Evan's hit song "Call to Arms" evokes the positive changes I see coming. #EqualityForAll #2020 @cnn @donlemoncnn @chrisccuomo @msnbc @maddowshow @foxnewssunday #music
In other Louganis news, the four-time Olympic gold medalist will again become the top official for this year’s Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, reported ABS-CBN news. Season 11 will kick off on April 12 in the Small and Big Lagoons of Miniloc Island in El Nido, Palawan.
Louganis will serve as sports director for the cliff diving competition. “I am honored to be back this year on the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. I look forward to another exciting year,” he said.