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.