Greg Louganis takes the plunge on ‘Splash’

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Greg Louganis

He’s a championship diver, a devoted dog lover, actor and activist, but now Olympian Greg Louganis is taking his talents in yet another direction with a new reality show on ABC.

“Splash” utilizes the swimmer’s expertise as a coach and dive master. While there have been countless shows like “American Idol,” “The Voice” and other hit singing competitions, “Dancing with the Stars” “the X Factor” and other talent competitions as well as survival and exotic fight to the finish line fare, “Splash” ventures into unchartered waters.

The show features up and coming talent and there is a full plate of celebrity divers as well. The roster includes everyone from petite Kendra Wilkinson who made a name for herself on E!’s “The Girls Next Door” to 7-foot-2 Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jubbar and even supersized funnyman Louie Anderson.

“We will highlight some of our young athletes, but the journey for celebrities is really facing their fears,” Louganis explains. The pro diver, who swept the 3m and 10m diving events in consecutive Olympic games and earned a total of five medals, says he’s happy to lend his talent and know-how to the show.

“We had one contestant who was terrified of the water,” he recalls. “It challenged my imagination about overcoming those fears and how I can bring the joy and fun of being under water and not being so afraid.”

Like many popular reality series, “Splash” began as an import. Louganis explains how the show first aired in the Netherlands and became a hit.

“They showed me a tape of it and it was very successful there,” he says. “Then it came to the United Kingdom and it was successful there.”

The diver thought this might be just the way to share his passion, which usually remains off the radar until the Summer Olympics.

“It was an opportunity for us to showcase diving and swimming, which are sports that don’t get a whole lot of attention except maybe once every four years.”

The show features 10 celebrities learning how to perform various feats. Between Kendra Wilkinson, Kareem Abdul – Jubbar and Louie Anderson, you couldn’t have three more different body types, but each one has to go through the rigors of learning and training.

For Louganis, selfimprovement is the real pay off, win or lose.

“With Louie, we hope he can bring with him some life changes he can take with him for the rest of his life, knowing how to work out and train, eating better, making healthier choices.”

All in all, Louganis enjoys seeing diving and swimming back in the spotlight. “It’s really exciting for me to showcase a sport that I love.”