Tom Waddell: A Man Who Lived With AIDS

ABC's "20/20" interviews the former paratrooper and founder of the Gay Olympics. (from 4/30/87)
16:31 | 04/22/14

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Transcript for Tom Waddell: A Man Who Lived With AIDS
Sometimes -- -- stories in the news week after week we begin to get -- we shut our eyes and close orders. We know that stories about aids victims get that reaction from some people. Maybe it's because so far there hasn't been one with a happy ending. We wish we could offer that tonight what we have instead is -- story filled with peace and courage. A superb athlete of remarkable man and learn to live with his disease. And that is his latest victory -- a life of accomplishment. Dick chef has his story. But these are good shots -- -- -- Sunday in the park. Three generations. Child her father and her grandfather. Flowers. Sunday in the park. Sharing precious moments by the bay and San Francisco. Sunday in the park and nothing to disturb the beauty. Except the father has aids. If I have any real sadness it's over the probably won't see her in her teens. And I could hang on that long ball. Well I'm very realistic about it I you know and I don't -- myself. Tom Waddell doesn't kill himself. Doesn't -- other people when he is painfully honest. About his illness. About his life. He was a paratrooper in the united states army. There was in the Kathleen in the 1968 Olympic Games. He's a doctor once served as the personal physician. The brother of the king of Saudi Arabia he's Jessica's father. -- -- Aurora. -- needs. -- look at the statistics that look at what that means -- have -- -- set -- choices -- -- freak out. Which is what you do me any good at all. For a can say this is -- it is community. Commanders sheets who just scream and yell and cry -- -- I can't keep it. -- -- Tom -- he's fifty. -- -- -- -- The newly sanctioned drug and is believed to curb the agency's slow it down just not -- to cure it -- he appears every four hours. And a round the clock 24 hours a day. Until something -- comes along I'm not knocking it believe me. -- -- Aids patients period hope. A host to something -- -- in many ways is an accident. If I'd known that I was being exposed certainly would have taken steps to prevent it but it didn't notice that there was -- here it is and I have it. And it's going to be dealt with. Home -- -- -- keeping diaries it restored. My view -- you must know some things about me understand more about your own life and how you came to be. You're so -- chairman. And credit -- a -- A few minutes. This week. -- -- eligible for strong. -- gentle man a man of rare physical gifts and a rare sensitivity. Tom -- contradicts. Two stereo -- -- the athlete and the homosexual. I really felt like I was the only. Homosexual. In my entire high school I thought I was doing homosexual the world Julie -- at this kind of feelings he grew up the white -- new Jersey's. I would like to I want to -- put -- I didn't want any of that change but it didn't want to PE. This social. Physical. Bizarre outcast I wanted to be like I wanted to have lots of friends and and I realize. The way I was gonna do that was not to my intellectual capacity could really feel any time. But through an athletic capacity -- Tom's father. -- one -- one standing on his hands what Tom gymnastics. Everything. His mother taught him. -- I'm really wanted to get cancer but who were the dancers and in the fifties they were it's. It was not something I could identify -- at that time I was too frightened. Com went to Springfield College -- gymnastics scholarship and then after medical school and in -- ship. Entered the army and revive them polished his athletic skills. At the age of 31. He made United States Olympic team competed in Mexico City. I just could not believe this is anything but extreme that I was there. Getting ready to compete and you can't. Tom -- competed. In gymnastics -- in track and field's most demanding test of strength speed and stamina. The decathlon. This supplement like totally. When teammate who Toomey won the decathlon. At noon the traditional honorary title of world's greatest -- home what Dell the world's sixth greatest. -- shared. -- -- -- The podium is filled. We just so pleased how I wanted to see him stand on that tough for he was sharing it with me on ways. -- -- -- -- -- now he should got -- made the team but he did because. He's that kind of guy. He has he's he's indefatigable he's when he sets his mind on something it happens after the 1916 teams to meet and Tom traveled together. To Africa among many places competing and conducting clinics after I was -- -- and tired of -- Olympic champion. He go that relate to hospital and work on patients all night long tropical diseases. Ironically. Eleven years ago when doctor Tom Waddell told the world in the pages of People Magazine. That he was a homosexual. The revelation he calculated the cost -- only one friend. To me. He did not hear from bill for more than a decade. To -- was one of those not uncommon macho -- was made uncomfortable. By homosexuality. -- cocktail party jokes about aids. We cities we don't mean that we mean things we don't say when you heard -- tarmac aids. How did you react I was devastated. Literally was like I try to call him. On the phone I could even talked. Because those choked up so much and he's a very valuable person to his plan. -- always do think. A few months ago to me and what Dell were reunited. Drawn together by the reports of -- aides -- -- still found it difficult to accept -- homosexuality. And his illness. I can get a I want to feel. Do you make it an. Well I don't know what that means it. But I'm you know it's not -- way to take five years or since its -- done I'll take five months really well absolutely. My head is in good shape over this my -- and nobody -- -- -- inside his mind is as good as yours I don't know my head I'm not worried about. -- -- -- When Tom founded the -- An Olympics open to heterosexuals. But designed to promote pride among homosexuals. He met -- a gay woman who shared his zest for sports his desire to have a child. It seems to me she -- -- -- -- even looking for the right person. I've always wanted to have a child -- asked that -- not be shown close up on 20/20. She did not want more for -- easier target for people who prove that the idea. Of homosexuals reproducing. The late -- I want a child. How it's like to. Have a baby with me. I felt like -- proposed -- is confident in the ability of typical thing and he just got here is in his eyes and said yes right away. We decided that when the games wherever we go away. And we were conceived. And that's especially reviewed. Before Jessica was born -- -- Serra got married we do not live together but they see each other almost daily. And -- splits her time between their home. -- we don't press anything sexually where there's a 90% chance she's going to be straight. Find -- who cares I don't care. And Sarah doesn't care it's whatever she is the thing is we -- her -- feeling. She puts herself. When just she was born -- had no idea he had aids but soon after. Tenet I was pushing a -- -- noted some white patches and a time. -- -- -- -- it's nothing. But there's a possibility it could soon -- -- of age. -- field. Had -- leaving you before you're really know me is my greatest concern. Com founder and Kerry did the whose virus he had -- RC age related complex. And I thought okay. -- -- Pray that and one of those -- that that don't go -- to -- him to. To form full blown -- girl lost. Her words more news at noon. -- fears were confirmed last summer two weeks before the start of big games to came down. The most sisters the punishing and painful lung infection that strikes -- patient. Still -- presided over the game's opening ceremonies. If I -- cool -- was going to be two days after the hospital I think threw the javelin. Cut tuberculosis in the -- -- but. I would I want it my own -- and -- -- -- -- -- -- Did you fail. -- answer could question. I can -- national. -- -- Converted gymnasium perfect for concerts and lectures has long been a gathering place -- -- the people who are now making certain. Does not lose -- law. Alone. That support systems as well -- in this city. If -- -- to be proud of something when they need to be proud about their response to the aids crisis. A couple of things have been happening which. -- -- worry me a bit. Doctor corals regularly -- But -- -- -- -- few of the Atlantic city's foreign news champion. Crude. When asked to. You clean my house yet -- -- my thesis. You've given me bouts of moral support. Failure to its last you do it it's not that I get down and is John you know in his junk provide -- with we're kind of support that me. Tom's closest friend appears on -- Moved into Tom's house when he learned that Tom -- -- I wanted to be here to be of -- to him. You know I mean. This is my god had been immunity Caron ended ten days after moving here time Geithner services. -- -- from. I know is upsetting to Tom that Monica hospital that I didn't come back -- about. I had the strongest gotten over seeing you know live -- protons that are living in an age sword. -- calm almost died last winter. He endured a second -- and numerous justice but still haunts him. It's just. I mean if I get -- -- that's I think -- -- Who wanted to sort of brisk walking upstairs and -- -- and -- yeah. MS is a constant fear. Anybody wants to lose weight. -- stopped smoking -- Connecticut aids. Tom can laugh -- aids and that himself but he was terrified for a -- -- -- -- -- might have infected Sarah and Jessica. Agonized over -- -- should be tested. They debated the psychological impact. And 1 evening she came home I was baby -- And should I can personally tell -- and I should call it bad news she has no. I'm located. -- -- in my -- and he wanted to tell you just got the results that it cannot turn I was I was just in tears. Because it meant just -- would have been negative. They -- relief. Tom's father most of the passengers. Across the country few weeks ago to visit -- Jessica. Where. My feet were so extreme. -- -- -- -- go to sleep. Hollywood's revenues. Say. Do. But you're doing. Precisely what. -- -- You know being loving. And understanding. -- -- -- Hugh and hazel having condemned me and yet a lot of faith patience. Never want to have anything do with them again there I have a feeling I don't -- test -- comes from but I have a feeling that he. Will survive this party -- don't know why but I do have a few can certainly have that hope. -- -- -- -- And he's giving his -- -- -- and every card. Realistically. Tom has perhaps a year to live there -- be here need. When he -- Karzai when. You know I'm bitter cold and anti -- it. Six -- servant of my friends -- in terms -- only your friends. News contributor miss you so much. Our memory serve us well yeah. They will. I I have friends who -- I missed terribly but but I do great joy -- -- -- -- Mostly -- -- here on them -- people running this thing. -- -- -- -- -- He's considerate. A noble you feel -- an -- of nobility of -- -- a lot of similar to wonder though if his daughters at risk. And spending time with him she didn't have a general -- I don't think she's in any risk -- all in a casual contact is not going to give anyone a child a grown up for anyone even correspondence camera crews. Nor -- it. The hoping that Thomas during talks that the envisage the memory he has -- -- And this so many of us who have terrific memories of him. What what he's going from the -- he's shown he's in the hospital almost every month even now. And when everything else individuals as a lawsuit he has to worry about when announcers Olympic Committee suing him for calling me gay games the gay Olympics. But that's who Supreme Court he might win that battle and then champion -- stone face certain many people that much courage and to promote abortion.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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