Vicki Draves: Google Doodle celebrates the first Asian American woman to win Olympic gold medals

Google Doodle celebrates Olympic athlete, Filipino American competition diver and coach Victoria “Vicki” Draves, a woman who won gold medals in both platform and springboard diving in the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, on August 3, 2020.

Who was Vicki Draves?

Victoria Manalo Draves was born in the South-of-Market district of San Francisco on December 31st, 1924. Draves became the first woman to be awarded gold medals for both the ten-meter platform and the three-meter springboard. Moreover, Draves became the first American woman to win two gold medals in diving, and the first Asian American to win Olympic gold medals. She was born in San Francisco.

Victoria Vicki Draves
Vicki Draves

Vicki Draves grew up with simply her parents, her twin sister Connie, an older sister Frankie, and a more youthful brother, Sonny, who died as a kid. Manalo couldn’t bear to take swimming exercises until she was 10 years of age and took summer swimming exercises from the Red Cross, paying five cents for admission to a pool in the Mission district.

Vicki Draves was associated with badminton, basketball, and softball in secondary school. She graduated from Commerce High School on Van Ness Avenue in 1942 and worked a temporary civil service job in the Army Port Surgeon’s office to add to the family’s pitiful income.

Manalo was acquainted with diving at age 16 by Jack Lavery. It was Lavery who acquainted her with Phil Patterson, swimming coach of the Fairmont Hotel Swimming and Diving Club.

At 17, Vicki Draves was advised if she wanted to contend, she expected to take her mom’s family name – Taylor – which she reluctantly did. In 1946, she took the last name of her husband, Lyle Draves, an electrical engineer who might coach her to five US championships somewhere in the range of 1946 and 1948.

In 1948, Vicki Draves won her first springboard national title. Regardless of not completing first in either springboard or platform events of the Olympic preliminaries in Detroit, Draves made the group.

After the Olympics, Vicki Draves turned pro, showing up in water shows that visited globally. She and her husband additionally ran a swimming and diving program in California.

Draves was chosen for the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1969. In 2006, a two-acre park named Victoria Manalo Draves Park was dedicated in her respect in San Francisco’s South of Market district, only a few blocks from where she was brought up.

Vicki Draves died in on April 11, 2010, at 85 years old, from pancreatic cancer aggravated by pneumonia.

On August 3, 2020, Google has renewed its homepage logo with a Doodle celebrating Vicki Draves, the first Asian American woman to win an Olympic medal.


Dan Zinman

Dan Zinman started his career as an astronomer and college professor and quickly expanded into popularizing the understanding of science and scientific discovery. He did this through writing books, essays, and articles. He is contributing by writing news articles for
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