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Breaking the Surface

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  529 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Breaking the Surface tells the unflinchingly honest story of Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis, whose athletic success also involved the challenge of breaking free of a lifetime of silence and isolation. In this frank, powerful memoir, Louganis reveals the whole story of his life--from a childhood marked by loneliness and self-esteem problems to his present-day battle ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 1st 1996 by Plume (first published 1985)
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Beyond the mists of prehistory, back when the 7.5 meter platform was made of giant slabs of rock and the 10m was supplied by the pate of a cooperative apatosaur, this reviewer used to fantasize about making it to the Olympics as a diver when he should have been doing his mat exercises.

One might think that most diving training is about falling but OH NO it's actually planted drearily on the sweat-pooling surface of dense coated rubbersmelly foam where you repeat ad infinitum the broken-down-into
I remember watching the Olympics when Greg Louganis hit his head on the diving board. I remember feeling nauseated on his behalf, wondering what the outcome would be, and then watching him come back to triumph. It was a tremendous experience.

I read "Breaking the Surface" last night and this afternoon, wanting to know more about this athlete I remember from my childhood. It was saddening to hear about the abuse he suffered growing up, both at school and from his father, and how he never felt like
David Jay
Full disclosure--I have been in love with Greg Louganis since long before I knew one man could love another. I bought his book when it first came out, amid an insane hailstorm of publicity and forgot to read it. Last week I saw a clip from the documentary being made about his life and remembered that I had this book on a shelf somewhere. Better late than never.

It is a very good book and Louganis is shockingly honest. He doesn't appear to sugar coat anything and makes every attempt to share his s
AMAZING!!!! Also I kinda can relate a lot to his struggles with his emotions and relationships and the causes of that. It just hit a chord. And his diving is like watching an angel fly -- breathtaking!! Reading about the work behind it is both incredibly helpful and also something I can understand. :) I just adore his story!!! People who can't relate to him (either his devotion to diving and the work he put in, or the emotional journey he has taken over the course of his life) might not like the ...more
Tracy Walters
This was a great book....Greg Louganis is now one of my personal heroes........he had such an extraordinary life yet he suffered so much took him years to deal with all the angst and I'm sure he is still dealing with it.......but he proved he had strength and integrity by doing what he felt was right for him and by putting for the effort to help others who struggle as he does. What a great person he is......I am profoundly touched by him and his valiant fight for what he believes ...more
Nancy Silk
"Diving Is Easy, Life Is a Huge Hurdle,"

This is a very straight forward story of multi Olympic gold-medal winning athlete, Greg Louganis. His growing up had many obstacles such as having a stutter, dyslexia (which was not diagnosed until he was in college), and constantly trying to prove he was not retarded. Being darker skinned in an all white school subjected him to bullying and teasing. His report cards weren't good, but his gift of gymnastics and dancing resulted in rewarding achievements.
Beth Rigatuso
Sep 29, 2008 Beth Rigatuso rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
This book is riveting, heartbreaking, inspiring! Louganis is amazing and his book is a generous personal look into his life, love, heartache and freedom! This is a must read for everyone! There is absolutely no way you could continue to be prejudice after reading this book! The sad things is those who should read it will probably never pick it up!

Thank you GREG!!!

I used to love him so much when I was little so I have a signed copy. Don't really remember much about the autobiography except the obvious things but it definitely holds a place in my heart.
I owned this book for the longest time, but for some reason or another put off reading it. Not sure why I've always admired Greg Louganis...I'm not a huge Olympic follower, and I'm not into swimming as a sport. Perhaps my admiration for him began after he hit his head on the springboard during the 1988 Olympics in Korea, and much later hearing the news of his HIV status, which I could've sworn he came forth with immediately after his diving accident, but he came out in 1994. I think in this book ...more
Greg Louganis began diving at age nine, and at sixteen won a silver medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. But despite his astonishing athletic skill, Greg struggled with late-detected dyslexia, prejudice toward his dark skin coloring and anguish over his homosexuality, which he felt compelled to hide. However, Louganis went on to win double gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics. His triumph at the 1988 Olympics came several months after he tested positive for HIV. Inspiring book.
Kathy  D.
I had wanted to read this for a long time, but kept grabbing other books. It was interesting,but very sad. His life was certainly different from his public image. The only downside is that the book was written 20 years ago, so there's a lot not covered. It was easy to read and fairly entertaining, although he tended to go into minute detail about some of his dives.
L.R. Pardee
Two thoughts on this book. #1 That poor Greg Louganis had a really awful life--at least up to his mid thirties when he wrote the book. I just want to give him a big hug. #2 As the mother of a young diver I can now say that I have no wish for her to be an elite diver. That's probably a good perspective to have, and probably why the coach recommended the book. It wasn't the best written biography, surprising since he had a co-author he found through the publisher. Perhaps they wanted it to sound l ...more
I imagine writing this book must have been a cathartic experience for Greg Louganis. I heard Greg speak in person last week during an LGBT event and he likened his secret of being gay and HIV+ to someone isolated in a remote island cut off from communications with the rest of the world. His story of depression, insecurity, equating performance with acceptance, and a deep hunger for unconditional love is the universal story of the human condition; gay or straight. But, struggling with one's sexua ...more
Jennifer Boeyink
Good book. I was never much of a swim fan, nor did I really follow Greg Louganis, but I love biographies and this one was a fascinating read.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Patti Koning
An interesting read. I wish he'd described more about being a diver and the type of training he did. It is an interesting snapshot of what life was like for a gay, HIV+ man in the 1990's.
Del Zimmerman
I re-read Louganis' biography after having done so right after its itinitial publication. I was so young when it was first published, I didn't fully understand the trials and tribulations of this star athlete. I discounted his lack of self-esteem and his fear of living with HIV. Reading this book now (at age 37)has had a much more profound effect on me. Greg is truly one of my heroes and I am glad he is still with us today.
This book birthed my love of autobiographical literature. I read this book as a middle school child for an English project. What I remember is being overwhelmed with sadness for what Greg went through as a child. I remember feeling the fear of him living with the secret of his HIV status. Then as any great book does it turns the corner and you celebrate his victories. To this day he is still one of my favorite Olympians.
Greg Louganis was truly an amazing athlete. His story of his struggles with an abusive childhood, depression, HIV, and his sexuality was very saddening but humbling. His ability to overcome all of these things along with hitting his head and battling back to win an Olympic gold medal is something that only a few people in the world could manage.

Lisa Currier
Always liked Greg Louganis, but had never read his book, but knew a little about his life. Picked up the book last month, and finally read it. The book is very honest. Looking in people probably thought Greg had a charmed life, but that is not true. He was very honest talking about his depression, his insecurities, his relationships. Very insightful read.
David Little
I read this in HS before I fully understood what it means to live an open gay life. I was out sailing with my Dad and I was reading the book....he asked- and it opened a good, honest conversation about me being gay. It was good with my Dad then, and it is still good today. Louganis is a well of inspiration. I just love him- -and stalk him on Facebook.
This book was really interesting. I like it because I was interested in the story of Greg Louganis. (I also read it cuz it was one of the books Allyson could find quickly for me to read just after we'd moved and I was bored.) But, I found the book kind of simple - it's all told in first person and there wasn't much I don't know...depth? to it.
Great book...the life story of Olympic diver Greg Louganis. It broke my heart to read what he went through growing up and how it affected his adult life, but also refreshing to know how he found his true self. This is so well written and a book that I had a hard time putting down.
A great read, although parts of it are sad. It's amazing how resilient and courage Greg was throughout his journey. I remember when I was diving in the same AAU meets with Greg and Cynthia Potter. Didnt know what would have become of them! Kudos to them for their success!
Being only familiar with his persona as Olympic athlete, I found the story of his life surprising. I had no idea he went through such difficulty. I appreciated his openness and honesty in sharing his life story. His hope that doing so could possibly help others is inspiring.
Jordan Kinsey
Either Eric Marcus wrote most of this book, or Greg Louganis is even more amazing than I thought. Athletes just aren't supposed to write this well. Seriously - one of the most engaging autobiographies (if not works of non-fiction in general) that I've ever read.
Aug 23, 2008 Teri rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
I read this when it first came out, enjoying it immensely. Having struggles in his youth and with his gay lifestyle, he ov ercame a lot with his diving. Having hit his head on a dive, it was great and very inspiring to have him come back to win the Gold medal.
What a heartbreakingly vulnerable biography! Greg tells his life story--which includes the ups and downs of an Olympic level athlete, depression, suicide attempts, being gay, abusive relationships, HIV and AIDS, etc. I think it took a lot of courage to write this book.
I read this book years ago. I believe I was in my late teens - early twenties. I remember that I really loved it and it made me cry in parts. What amazing strength it must have taken to write this.
Great book and I'm glad I read it when I did.
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