Wheaties to feature Greg Louganis in wake of documentary, petition

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Greg Louganis, the diving great who was among the first prominent athletes to come out as gay, will be featured on the cover of Wheaties boxes for the first time starting next month, The New York Times has reported.

The move by the cereal maker comes eight months after an HBO documentary aboutLouganis, 56, sparked renewed interest in his story. An onlinepetition then surfaced seeking support for theWheaties honor.

According to The Times, Olympic hurdler Edwin Moses and swimmer Janet Evans will also be featured onWheaties boxes for the first timein May. General Mills plans to officially unveil each box Tuesday. The manufacturer provided images of the three boxes to ESPN on Monday night.

"Edwin and I were in the 1976 Olympics together," Louganis told The Times in a telephone conversation last week, according to the report. "He was my hero. God, he was my inspiration to get trust funds put in place for the athletes coming behind me."

"I watched Janet grow up at Mission Viejo,"he added.

Julie Sondgerath, an IT professional in Chicago, started the petition on Change.org, The Times report said.

"From the moment I hit send on the petition, I knew this was possible," Sondgerath told The Times.

She took 41,000 printed petitions to General Mills' offices in Minneapolis a month later.

"Having an authentic conversation with them was helpful and was potentially a catalyst to genuinely think about it," she said.

Louganis became the only man in diving history to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in both springboard and platform diving in 1984 and '88, but he found that opportunities available to other Olympic stars eluded him. He has said previously that he came to believe it was because his sexuality had not remained a secret within his sport even when he had yet to come out.

"The times have changed so drastically and so fast," he said in the interview with The Times. "When I came out to my mom, she feared I'd always be a second-class citizen and never have a chance to be married.

"But Johnny and I are married," Louganis said of Johnny Chaillot, whom he wed in 2013. "And we're making a life together."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.