Vicki Draves, International Swimming Hall of Fame Diver, Honored with Google Doodle

Vicki Draves Google Doodle

Vicki Draves, a double Olympic gold medal-winning diver and International Swimming Hall of Fame inductee, was honored Monday as the subject of the Google Doodle.

The Aug. 3 date marks the 72nd anniversary of Draves becoming the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal. Draves claimed gold in the 3-meter springboard at the 1948 Olympics in London, then became the first woman in Olympic history to sweep the diving events when she won the 10-meter platform later in the week. Fellow American diver Sammy Lee, who was of Korean descent, won the 10-meter men’s platform event days later to become the first Asian-American man to win gold.

Draves won national championships in 1946, 1947 and 1948, doing the platform and springboard double in 1948.

Born Victoria Manalo in San Francisco to an English mother and a Filipino father and had to compete under her mother’s maiden name, Taylor, to get into the tony diving club in the Nob Hill section of town to train with coach Phil Patterson. She also trained with Jimmy McHugh at the Crystal Plunge team and eventually married her coach at the Athens Club in Oakland, Lyle Draves, who Lee had introduced her to.

She briefly retired from the sport after the death of her father but resumed competing after relocating to Southern California to be coached again by Lyle after World War II ended. Though she didn’t win at Olympic Trials, she ended up on top in London. Training partner Zoe Ann Olsen earned silver in the springboard, while Patsy Elsener claimed bronze and silver in the springboard and platform, respectively. Draves was inducted to the International Swimming Hall of Fame the following year.

Vicki Draves toured the Philippines for a month after her medal win, the first time she’d been to the country of her father’s heritage. She performed as part of Buster Crabbe’s Aqua Parade, Larry Crosby’s Rhapsody in Swimtime and on shows with swimmer turned vaudeville performer Esther Williams. Draves lived in California and was an advocate for Filipino Americans after her career ended. She died at age 85 in 2010. In 2006, a two-acre park in the SoMa district of San Francisco was named in her honor, the Victoria Manalo Draves Park.

1 comment

  1. avatar
    Tyler dolloff

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