07/15/1996 at 01:00 AM EDT
A year after Greg Louganis bared his private life in his autobiography, Breaking the Surface, he gazes out at the vast Pacific from the deck of his four-bedroom Malibu home. Louganis, 36, shares the house with four Great Danes, which he breeds and trains. "One thing that really scared me," he says, "was that nobody would be here to take care of the dogs if something were to happen to me. So I started doing volunteer work for PAWS/LA," a group that helps people with AIDS care for their pets. "The more work I did, the more I realized that...somebody will be there for me too."
But his candor about being gay and battling AIDS has exacted a price. Although Louganis kept his lucrative Speedo endorsement deal, NBC decided against hiring him as a diving commentator in Atlanta. Neither the network nor Louganis will discuss the situation. His friends say he is disappointed, but Louganis tries to focus on the positive. "He always feared somebody would blackmail him before the book came out," says his friend, diver Megan Neyer. "Nobody can do that to him anymore." Before the book, Louganis says, "I went through bouts of depression, but I found a wonderful psychologist." Louganis says his overall health is good. He is often on the road, acting onstage or speaking about AIDS. He plans to visit the U.S. diving team at training camps to give pep talks. "I will encourage them not to read their press," he says. "If I had read what was printed about me in '76, I would have probably never gotten on the board. I would have been so scared." Louganis says he misses the discipline of training but not the actual meets. "I see the dives they are doing now, and I think, 'Yes, I got out just at the right time,' " he says. "I don't think my legs would make it beyond the platform. It is a different era." Not just for diving, but for Louganis as well. Having come to terms with his past, he's at peace with his future.