The creative team is yet to be announced but Louganis will be involved in all stages of the book’s development. Clover Press’s Hank Kanalz and Matt Ruzicka will be handling the project. Ruzicka, a former executive at IDW Publishing, previously played a key role in publishing George Takei’s They Called Us Enemy, and the March Trilogy, about civil rights leader and U.S. congressman John Lewis.
Louganis has a similarly dramatic life, from his amazing Olympics career to his work as an activist for LGBTQIA+ rights and for people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The graphic novel will cover all of this.
Clover Press was founded by former IDW exec Ted Adams and Robbie Robbins and continues to put out a curated line of notable comics and collectibles.
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“I’m so excited to bring my story to the graphic novel audience. The team at Clover Press, with such broad experience and success, are the perfect partners,” said Louganis in a statement. “As it was with my diving, I strive to achieve the very best; I know that this collaboration will empower me to do just that and am already enjoying this journey!”
“We are thrilled to announce A Champion’s Story,” says Hank Kanalz, Publisher of Clover Press. “The life of Greg Louganis is one of passionate dedication, vision, redemption and reinvention. He has faced and overcome many personal, athletic, and social challenges to become an icon and inspiration to millions of people.”
The Louganis deal with Clover Press was handled by his manager, Greg H. Sims, at Arya Artist Management, and attorney Irwin Tenenbaum of Loeb & Loeb.
A Champion’s Story fits the desire of Clover Press to create transcendent titles about extraordinary individuals doing extraordinary things to inspire and improve the lives of people around the world. The story is very personal to Matt Ruzicka, President of Clover Press, as he explains, “My father, Chuck Ruzicka, was Greg’s first diving coach. He saw the makings of a champion at its infancy. My father followed Greg’s career closely throughout his life and in my household, he embodied the definition of ‘Champion.’ He was the athlete one had to measure up to.”
Greg Louganis was raised by his adoptive parents, Frances and Peter Louganis. At the age of 9, he began diving lessons after the family built a swimming pool. He started training with Chuck Ruzicka, his first diving coach. He went on to catch the attention of Dr. Sammy Lee and coach Ron O’Brien and trained for the Olympics, where he won gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympics.
But his story doesn’t stop there. Louganis went on to experience many personal and career highs and lows. A Champion’s Story recounts them in a compelling graphic novel format, including his life as an adopted bi-racial child in Southern California, his reconnection with his biological family, and his health challenges. Louganis came out publicly as HIV-positive in 1995 and has been a prominent LGBTQ activist. He also has worked frequently with the Human Rights Campaign to defend the civil liberties of the LGBT community and people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.