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Louganis looks to make a ‘Splash’

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

By Rick Bentley

The Fresno Bee


The 10 celebrities looking to belly-flop their way to a win on the new ABC reality competition show “Splash” (8 tonight) bring little or no diving experience to the pool.

They won’t have to take a long walk off a 10-meter stand on their own. They get to pick the brain of one of the most notable divers in American swim history: Multiple Olympic medal winner Greg Louganis is their mentor.

“The call me the ‘Dive Master.’ It’s a very Yoda, Zen position,” says Louganis at an ABC party. “It’ll be my job to guide them through all of their performances.”

The celebrities counting on Louganis are: NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; extreme skier Rory Bushfield; comedian Louie Anderson; actor Drake Bell, of “Drake & Josh”; actress Keshia Knight Pulliam; NFL star Ndamukong Suh; model Katherine Webb; TV personality Kendra Wilkinson; and actress Nicole Eggert.

TV personality Chuy Bravo, of “Chelsea Lately,” was supposed to compete but an injury has sidelined him.

Each of their dives will be judged by London Olympic U.S. Gold medalist David Boudia and Australian Olympic athlete and USA Dive Team director Steve Foley.

Louganis isn’t kidding when he talks about the Zen nature of his role.

“It’s almost like diving becomes a metaphor for facing your fears, facing your challenges. It’s more about the journey. It’s not so much about the technique,” Louganis says. “It’s a matter of getting them to face their fears and push beyond what they think they can do.”

Louganis won four gold medals and one silver in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.