Samuel Lee

Samuel “Sammy” Lee learned to dive at Pasadena’s Brookside Park pool, which until 1940 allowed people of color to use the facilities only on Wednesdays, the day before it was drained and refilled. His most reliable place to work out was waterless — a diving board installed over a sand pit he dug in his coach’s backyard.

The inescapable racism “inspired me to perform,” Lee, the son of Korean immigrants, once said. “I was angered, but I was going to prove that in America, I could do anything.”

Lee overcame discrimination to become the first Asian American to win an Olympic medal and the first diver to win back-to-back gold medals in two different Olympics — in London in 1948 and Helsinki in 1952.

Lee recently died at the age of 96. Read the rest of his obituary here.

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Thanks so much for visiting my blog! Writing and reading posts takes time and we all know that time is precious. You and I will both get much more out of this blog if it leads to dialogue/exchange of ideas. If you found this post useful and wouldn’t mind leaving a brief comment and sharing via email or social media, I would be extremely grateful. My posts are generally written quickly, so if you have any feedback, or find any factual or grammatical errors, please do let me know. Regards, “Dr. Phil”

 

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