It’s taken over thirty years, but thanks to a petition started on Change.org, Greg Louganis will finally be on the cover of the Wheaties Box.
Along with Louganis, General Mills will also feature two other Olympic greats, hurdler Edwin Moses and swimmer Janet Evans, on its boxes; the boxes will be available beginning in May.
Arguably the world’s best diver, Greg Louganis won back-to-back Olympic gold medals in springboard and platform diving in 1984 and 1988. But unlike other athletes of his caliber, Louganis was not featured on the Wheaties box -- a coveted honor for any athlete.
It was widely believed that Louganis was denied his Wheaties box in the 1980s because he is gay. At the time, General Mills explained Louganis did not meet the "wholesome demographics" to grace the cover of the Wheaties box.
“From the moment I hit send on the petition, I knew this was possible.”
Of course, this all changed after Julie Sondgerath saw the HBO documentary, Back on Board: Greg Louganis. The Chicago-resident was shocked to learn that such an Olympic champion hadn’t been on the Wheaties box.
Julie felt she “had to right this wrong,” and so as the credits were rolling she grabbed her computer and started a petition asking General Mills to put Greg Louganis on the cover of the Wheaties box. But she couldn’t stop thinking about it -- so after a sleepless night, she got up at 5 a.m. and emailed Greg Louganis.
“My husband thought I was crazy, and I never expected to hear from Greg, but I did! He wrote to say he had seen my petition, tweeted it, and thanked me. I couldn’t believe it!” Julie told Change.org.
A month and a half later, Julie met with General Mills executives to deliver signatures from more than 41,000 people and speak about her petition.
“Having an authentic conversation with them was helpful and was potentially a catalyst to genuinely think about it,” she told the New York Times.
General Mills Acts
Tuesday morning, all of Julie’s hard work came to fruition, when General Mills announced it would put Louganis on the cover of the Wheaties box.
In her victory update, Julie congratulated Greg and thanked all of the 43,834 people who joined her campaign. She also hinted at her next campaign, writing, “Now, who wants to help me start a campaign to get Greg on Dancing with the Stars? ;)”
Of course, Julie wasn’t the only one excited to hear about General Mills decision, Greg Louganis was deeply touched by the victory.
“This means so much more than it would have back then,” he said in the New York Times. “Getting it now means people will see me as a whole person — a flawed person who is gay, H.I.V.-positive, with all the other things I’ve been through.”
What change would you like to see in the world?