8 p.m. Tuesday, ABC
The celebrities looking to belly-flop their way to a win on the new ABC reality competition show Splash bring little or no diving experience to the pool.
They wont 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. Its a very Yoda, Zen position, Louganis says. Itll be my job to guide them through all of their performances.
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, the former Hugh Hefner girlfriend.
Actress Nicole Eggert.
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 isnt kidding when he talks about the Zen nature of his role.
Its almost like diving becomes a metaphor for facing your fears, facing your challenges. Its more about the journey. Its not so much about the technique, Louganis says. Its a matter of getting them to face their fears and push beyond what they think they can do.
If anyone understands facing challenges, its Louganis. He missed a chance in 1980 to compete at the Olympics in Moscow when America boycotted the games, but competed in the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games on the springboard and platform. He won four golds and one silver medal. Toss in multiple world championship titles and Louganis dominated diving in the 1980s.
The world changed for him in the 1988 Seoul Olympics when he hit his head on the springboard during a preliminary round and suffered a concussion. Six months earlier, he had been diagnosed as being HIV positive. He was dropped by almost all of his sponsors.
He understands that most people who remember him from the Olympics want to talk about his head injury. Louganis says that story is part of what has made him the man he is today. Hes been able to find the positive in everything thats happened to him.
Its been 25 years since I was diagnosed HIV positive. Back then, we thought it was a death sentence but Im still here, he says. Hitting my head was unfortunate, but the bigger story was that I got back up on the board and I did the next dive which was the highest scoring dive of that Olympics.
The other thing that rings true for me is that you dont achieve greatness on your own. My coach and I got through that moment in time together.
And now, Louganis gets to help others. He had six weeks to get the contestants some who couldnt even swim ready. They will need his training to make a big Splash.