Breaking the Surface by Greg Louganis Essay Example

Paper Type:  Book review
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  918 Words
Date:  2022-11-28


The book selected for review in this assignment is "Breaking the Surface" by Greg Louganis. The book was written by Greg and it discusses the life and experiences of Greg from childhood to the time he is an active champion diver and mostly the book describes the experiences of Greg when he realizes that he has contracted HIV/AIDs.

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Summary of the Book

Greg's book begins with his childhood experiences when he is rejected by his father and no matter how much he struggles to restore the relationship with the father, they never come to terms. He was adopted at the age of nine and he starts diving at this young age. He grows to become a great champion diver who wins son many gold medals for the diving skills he has (Louganis & Marcus, 2006). For example, he wins two consecutive diving competitions and gets the gold medals in the years of 1984 and 1988 during the diving Olympics. In the meantime, as a diver, Greg gets into a homosexual or rather a gay relationship with his diving manager. This manager is known to be HIV/AIDs positive and it is from him that Greg also contracts this dangerous disease which is a death sentence as perceived by many. The manager does not take long before he dies after having struggled with the diseases for a long time.

Despite the skill that Greg has in diving and Olympics, he lives a life of stress out of the dyslexia diagnosis and the fact that he later understands that he later comes to learn that he is already infected with HIV/AIDs. A balance of his athletes and the pressure, stigma, prejudice just takes his strong character to overcome and still stand out no matter the fact that people even his fans believe that he not in a good condition. The themes that are conveyed in the book "Breaking the Surface" by Greg Louganis are the themes of competition, determination, and perseverance after he has contracted AIDs from the manager (Louganis & Marcus, 2006). In the end, Greg ends up standing out and having a strong character. He manages his current situation and is so much strength in the 1990s to announce or rather reveal that he is AIDs positive. What follows next is Greg becoming a gay activist. From a gay family, he is still determined to fight for the other guys all around and that is why he becomes a gay activist to mobilize the other gays to ask for what they feel that it is their right and what they really deserve. In addition, Greg Louganis becomes the beginner of AIDs awareness who tries to make the people around informed of the dangerous disease of AIDs according to them. He tries to show them that one can still lead a good life even with the disease simply because the disease is manageable.

The following themes that are conveyed in the book of Greg are the ones that show the main reasons as to why Greg was able to manage with his situation of AIDs:

  • The Theme of Competition

Greg has been in the diving competitions for quite a long time and as it is expected of any competitor out there, they must possess a strong character and remain tough at all times. The ability to be tough as an athlete diver and competitor greatly helps Greg to avoid the stigmatization from the people after they know that he is AIDs positive Louganis & Marcus, 2006). Being tough as a competitor is also of great importance in assisting Greg to make the public aware that he has contracted AIDs. He manages to counter the efforts and criticisms of his rivals even when he is living with the disease. He proves that the disease AIDs is manageable because he still makes it win gold medals as a diver regardless of his situation.

  • The Theme of Perseverance

Greg is suffering a lot of pressure from the pain he gets from the disease he contracts from his manager. However, because of the ability to persevere, he does not give up in what he is determined to do (Louganis & Marcus, 2006). Moreover, he seems to get stronger than before and he manages under all the circumstances.

  • Determination Theme

Having a disease and in this case, AIDs does not mean that one should despair in what they have to do but instead they should stand firm and do everything that they can (Louganis & Marcus, 2006). A determination is key and this is seen in the book Breaking the Surface by Greg when he gets serious too and remains focused to win more gold medals with his situation and condition unchanged. It is this determination of Greg Louganis that makes him form movements in the defend and fight for the so-called rights of the gays.


From the book "Breaking the Surface" by Greg Louganis, it is clear that AIDs is not a death sentence as many people have and perceive it. A person can still remain in a good position to make it in their activities and life entirely rather than giving up on everything. AIDs is a manageable disease and people should not just view it as a death sentence. Stigmatization of the people living with AIDs should not be the order of the day but rather people should be there to show positivity of life to AIDs victims and not discouraging them.


Louganis, G., & Marcus, E. (2006). Breaking the surface. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks.

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Breaking the Surface by Greg Louganis Essay Example. (2022, Nov 28). Retrieved from

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