Breaking The Surface is a 1997 TV movie about Greg Louganis based on his best selling 1996 book.
Greg was adopted at nine months old by Pete Louganis and his wife Frances Louganis. As a child growing up he was usually teased by other kids for being a retard because of his inability to read. They also made fun of his color not understanding he was half Samoan. His father was not happy with his poor performance in academics.
After the family gets a swimming pool Greg develops a passion for diving. Frances encourages it and gets him a coach. The coach notices Greg has talent and proposes to put him on the junior diving team. This excites Pete who begins pushing Greg hard against his wishes.
At teenage Greg clashes with Pete often because of drinking and coming in late. He goes into depression and once writes a suicide note saying "sorry I wasn't what you wanted". The mother Frances finds it before he takes the pills to commit suicide. Frances tries to talk to him but he kicks her when she tries to wake him from bed. Pete sees it and calls in the police to arrest him. He later apologizes to Frances at the police station and goes back home with them.
Greg later moves out of the house to attend coaching. He moves in at Dr. Lee's. Dr. Lee trains him and he manages to make the USA Olympic team. During the Olympics in Montreal Canada a male judge makes a move on Greg. Greg goes to ask a fellow swimmer Scott if he looks obviously gay. Scott is upset by the question because he thinks Greg thinks he must be also gay. Greg wins a silver medal in the Olympics. He is sad he never won gold but it still gets him fame.
Greg later switches coaches to Ron. He begins training for the 1980 Moscow Olympics. He gets a full scholarship to University. He however does poorly in his placement test and is sent to the reading clinic. It is there where they discover Greg has been dyslexic all along. They promise to help him overcome it. The dyslexia is what made fellow kids call him a retard when he was young. In University he manages to explore his sexuality and meet other gay people. He meets Keith with whom they begin a relationship and move in together. Only a girl in his team named Megan knows about their gay relationship.
Greg together with the team is devastated when the president of the USA announces his country will not be part of the Moscow Olympics due to Soviet's invasion of Afghanistan. Greg is forced to look for other goals to keep him focused. His obsession with diving puts a strain on his relationship with Keith and they break up. Greg tells coach Ron about his sexual orientation. Ron reacts calmly.
After finishing college Greg continues his passion for diving. He meets Tom a gay man with whom they begin a relationship. His father Pete is not welcoming of his sexual orientation when he attends his sister's wedding. Frances tells Greg they are getting a divorce and it breaks his heart.
In the 1984 Olympics Greg wins two gold medals. He and Tom buy a house in Malibu California. Tom is an opportunist and he gets Greg to give him power of attorney to manage his finances. Tom has a short temper and is sometimes abusive to Greg even physically. Tom also begins pushing Greg's friends away. Greg confronts Tom about leaving in the night to undisclosed places.
Tom gets shingles and he can barely manage the pain. Greg comforts him that they must be from the stress. They both live in denial until several months before the Seoul Olympics when Tom comes down with pneumocystis pneumonia which is associated with AIDS. Greg goes in for tests and is also diagnosed with HIV having only 256 T-cells. Greg tells Ron about the news and if he should continue diving. Ron tells him to continue since the doctor said he could.
Greg keeps his HIV status including that of Tom a secret from his parents. They see him off for the Seoul Olympics. He leaves his father Pete very ill diagnosed with lung cancer. At the Olympics he starts off well but then hits his head on the board. He goes for examination and get four stitches without anesthetic so that he can go back and try again. He manages to make it to the finals with stitches on his head. He scoops two gold medals from those Olympic games.
Back home he finds his dad hospitalized. Megan confronts him about Tom's management of his finances. He decides to check and finds Tom has misused his finances. He calls the lawyer and revokes Tom's power of attorney. The two breakup. He later discovers Tom was practicing prostitution the nights he used to leave the house.
Pete asks Greg to take him home from hospital despite his medical condition. Greg agrees. At home he apologizes for having been very strict on him. Pete later dies. Frances recalls Greg's coming of age at the funeral and makes apologies for some of Pete's behavior. Greg later goes public about his sexual orientation and HIV status. He later writes a best selling book with the title Breaking The Surface.