Tata Steel Kolkata 25K, the only 25km race in the world to be accorded an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race status and India’s only international 25K, is set for a mighty splash as four-time Olympic Games gold medallist and diving legend Greg Louganis will grace the City of Joy as its International Event Ambassador.
The fifth edition of the event slated for Sunday 16 December 2018, coincides with Vijay Divas and as a salute to the martyrs of the nation, the race encourages the city to come together in celebration of this glorious day.
Greg can boast a total of 17 global gold medals to his name; including four from the Olympics, five world championships, six Pan American titles and two from the World University Games.
The 1988, Seoul Olympic is famous for Greg’s commitment to the game and fighting spirit. During the qualifying, he hit the back of his head on the diving board requiring several stitches, an accident that should have been competition ending. However, he came back to sweep gold in the 10m platform and also in the 3m springboard, leaving global audiences dumbstruck.
With gold medals at the 1984 (Los Angeles) and 1988 (Seoul) Summer Olympics, on the springboard and platform, he is also the only male diver to sweep both diving events in successive Olympics.
On his role as International Event Ambassador, Greg commented, “I am honoured to be a part of the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K. The running phenomena in India is so great to see; the challenge and perseverance it takes to complete such a distance is remarkable and highly commendable. Running events bring communities together as well as enhance personal growth. This will help motivate, encourage and inspire others to also take up the challenge of running, become active in a healthy and demanding way and achieve their own personal best.”
He added, “I have heard wonderful things about India and I am delighted that my first connection is through an international sporting event like the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K! Good luck to all the participants, I’ll be cheering for you all during my time in the city.”
After his retirement from competition in 1989, the 58-year-old American has donned many hats and always continued his commitment to excellence. He has become a mentor and coach to many top divers including members of the 2012 and 2016 US Olympic teams, a motivational speaker, author, actor, LGBT rights activist, humanitarian and an HIV/AIDS awareness advocate and designer.
Vivek Singh, Jt. Managing Director, Procam International said: “We are extremely excited to have this legendary Olympian grace our event this year. The east of India has warmed up to the magic of distance running. The recent IAAF Label Road Race status and the presence of sporting royalty such as Greg Louganis, will add extra motivation to the Kolkatans to turn up the heat and celebrate Vijay Diwas on 16 December.”
In 2017, the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K consolidated its position as one of Asia’s top road races, when Ethiopia’s multiple Olympic and world record holder Kenenisa Bekele won with a course record of 1:13:48 and the women’s race was dominated by Degitu Azimeraw with a timing of 1.26.01.