Google Doodle Honors History-Making Diver Vicki Manalo Draves

Today’s Google doodle honors Olympic diver Vicki Manalo Draves, the first Asian-American woman ever to win an Olympic medal.

Draves, whose father was Filipino, dove during World War II, facing many hurdles due to widespread racial discrimination and prejudice against Americans of Asian descent during the war. Draves was born Victoria Manalo, but changed her name to the more Americanized Vicki Taylor to be allowed membership with the Fairmont Hotel Swimming and Diving Club when she was 16. At 19, she finished third in her first-ever appearance at the AAU national diving championships.

The following year, she met Lyle Draves, who eventually became her coach. The two married in 1946, and Vicki Draves won the next three national titles on the 10-meter platform and added a 1948 national title on springboard, powering a run to the 1948 Olympic team. Representing Team USA in London, Draves won gold on both the 3-meter springboard and the 10-meter platform.

That marked the first time that a woman won Olympic gold in both events at the same Olympics. It also marked the first time an Asian-American woman had won an Olympic medal. In those same 1948 Olympics, Sammy Lee won the men’s 10-meter platform gold – just two days after Draves’ first gold – making him the first Asian-American man to win Olympic gold. Lee was born in California to parents of Korean descent.

It was 72 years ago today (August 3) that Draves on her Olympic 3-meter springboard gold. She won on platform three days later.

Draves died in April of 2010 from pancreatic cancer. You can see the Google doodle here, and can read more about her life and career here.

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1 month ago

I’m wondering: why today? It isn’t her birth or death anniversary . . . is it the anniversary of her gold medals?

Reply to  NSM
1 month ago

Says so right in the article… ‘It was 72 years ago today (August 3) that Draves on her Olympic 3-meter springboard gold. She won on platform three days later.’

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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