Who is Vicki Draves? Google Doodle Celebrates Asian American Olympic Diver

Google Doodle is celebrating Filipino American diver and coach Victoria "Vicki" Draves on the anniversary of her winning the gold medal in the women's 3-meter springboard event at the London Summer Olympics in 1948.

Victoria Draves was born Victoria Taylor Manalo in the South of Market district of San Francisco on December 31, 1924. Draves and her family would go swimming at the Fleishhacker Pool, where they would also watch the divers, and it was there that a member of a local swim team asked a teenaged Draves if she wanted to learn to dive.

Draves had to overcome challenges on her journey to becoming an Olympic gold medal winner. Since the Pearl Harbor attacks in 1941, Asians in the U.S. faced discrimination, and Draves was not allowed in the "swanky pools and clubs," in San Francisco, according to the Draves family.

They also said that when Draves was allowed to practice in public pools, they would often drain the pools after she finished training.

But in spite of the odds and after winning three consecutive U.S. National Diving Championship platform titles, Draves earned a place at the Olympics in London, 1948. There, Draves became the first Asian American woman to win an Olympic medal and the first woman to take home the gold in both the platform and springboard events.

Following the Olympics, Vicki Draves became a professional diver and toured with her husband, coach Lyle Draves, and Buster Crabbe, Johnny Weissmuller, and Esther Williams. Draves also became a mother and had four sons, David, Jeff, Dale, and Kim.

Vicki Draves Google Doodle
Vicki Draves became the first Asian American woman to win an Olympic medal and the first woman to take home the gold in both the platform and springboard events. Google Doodle

Draves was inducted to the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1969, and in San Francisco in 2005, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom dedicated the site of her and her twin sister Connie's elementary school as the Victoria Manalo Draves Park. Draves passed away in 2010.

Draves' sons pay tribute to their mother in today's Google Doodle, recounting what was so special about her and what she taught them.

David said of his mother: "With all the success and fame my parents received for their amazing achievements and contributions to the sport of diving, the one thing they both showed my brothers and I was humility.

"To win was one thing, but to be gracious and humble were the attributes of a true 'Champion.'"

Jeff said: "Like my brothers, I also value the important virtues my mother instilled in our lives. She was a famed Olympic medalist, so there was plenty of opportunity to teach us about arrogance and conceit.

"But instead, through how she lived her life, she taught us the importance of humility and humbleness. Similarly, her influence showed me that nothing was more important than family."

Dale said: "The diving world became a huge part of my life and helped me grow. The sport helped me learn to be professional and respectful. Because of my mom's accomplishments and my dad's influence, they gave me the chance to know myself and to better myself.

"I so appreciate what I had and how great it was to be raised by the Olympian Victoria Manalo Draves."

Finally, Kim said: "Being raised under the wing of an Olympian forever makes me feel proud and it is an honor that has never lost its luster. That said, growing up with an Olympian was, and always will be, growing up with 'Mom.'"