Vicki Draves Biography, Vicki Draves Wiki
Vicki Draves became the first Asian-American woman to win an Olympic medal, when she won two gold medals for diving during the 1948 London Summer Olympics Games on August 3 and 6.
Victoria Manalo Draves!!!! Celebrating Vicki Draveshttps://t.co/OoGejqSn7L
— Jay Ann Leyson (@jayann_leyson) August 3, 2020
According to Olympic.org, Draves succeeded at the peak of his sport to overcome racism and poverty in his youth. Google honored its determination and success with a Google doodle in memory of its first day that won the gold medal at the Olympics.
ABS-CBN, a Filipino trading network, reported that Draves’ Victoria “Vicki” Manalo-Draves was born to a Filipino father, an English mother, conductor and musician. On an oral date published by the Los Angeles Amateur Athletics Foundation, Draves reminded her family that she had a hard time as a married couple living in San Francisco: “Marriage frowned in those days. It was not really an easy situation for the family. ”
According to his oral history, Draves grew up in a family that knew tragedy; He had a child named Sonny who died before his parents Draves, and his unidentified sister was born. Later, her older sister, Frances – or “Frankie,” died of cancer. There was also little or no time spent with the extended family; As a result, Draves said he had little exposure to his relatives and instead was a “small family unit”.
Ironically, the sport that would make Draves famous was also unlikely; According to her oral history, she actually wanted to be a ballerina, but she couldn’t do it because her families were so poor. Instead, she learned to swim at the age of nine, taking five cents lessons from the Red Cross, despite her fear of water.
“I tried diving from the diving board and side,” he said. “I had a close girlfriend, Diana Radovich, who thought I was very brave.”
According to his oral history, he said his older sister would take lessons from the Hawaii lifeguard under the name Eddie Ukini and watched his dive and swim in the Fairmount Hotel Swimming and Diving Club in San Francisco. Draves developed a crush on a young diver Jack Lavery and eventually started teaching him how to dive before starting to meet with dive coach Phil Patterson.
Initially, Patterson told him that he was a half-Filipino member and could not sign up and created the “Patterson Swimming and Diving School” instead. He also asked the Filipino surname Manalo to replace his mother with the name Taylor; Draves did, but said “he doesn’t feel good about it.”
After she started training with her husband, Lyle Draves, she said she was still prejudiced against anti-Asian racism, partly from World War II. Lyle told Draves, 19, that she didn’t feel ready and didn’t want to compete yet, in reality she couldn’t compete because of racism.
“The athletic committee has told me that I can go to Olsen and Gloria, but not to Vicki,” Lyle said throughout her oral history. “They didn’t give me a reason. I entered him, but he still did not dive … Why was I asked at the swimming meeting why I entered Manalo (Vicki)? I told them that I used my privilege. I resign when the athletic committee says they will tell me who to enter. ”
In 1946, Draves married her coach, Lyle, who was working for the Navy as an electrician at the time and also training her. It was during that year when she also won her first national title, coming in second place on the springboard and first in the junior and senior national platform contests. She also held the highboard championships in 1947 and 1948, according to Britannica.com.
In total, the New York Times reported that she won five U.S. championships during the two-year lead-up to the Olympics. Draves told oral historians that her experience during the Olympics made her feel as though she were part of something bigger:
You just feel like this one little tiny member of a huge gathering of all these wonderful athletes from all over the world. It is one of the few times that a woman was able to have a real patriotic feeling. It is such a different experience. It is just magnificent. Something you just hold in your heart and you just never forget, no matter how long ago it was.
Even though she was incredibly nervous before each dive, Lyle said even the crowd realized her dives were winners before she did: “There were 6 or 7,000 people at Wembley Stadium, and before her head come up above water, the whole audience was applauding,” he recalled. “They knew she’d hit it. When she went in that water, it was like a knife. It was beautiful, but she didn’t know that.”
She won gold medals in the 3m springboard and 10m platform competitions, which Olympic.org reported as “a double that is much discussed, but not often achieved” and also noted that “Draves was the first female diver to achieve the feat.” She was also the first Asian-American woman.
After the Olympics, Draves became a professional diver and toured in water shows as a featured diver, touring with Larry Crosby’s “Rhapsody in Swimtime” and Buster Crabbe’s “Aqua Parade,” the New York Times reported.
Olympic.org reported that she toured all over the U.S. and Europe before helping Lyle set up a training program for potential swimmers and divers; the program would go on to produce several more Olympians, such as Patricia McCormick and Sue Gossick, the Times reported. Draves worked as a secretary and raised the couple’s four sons, David, Jeffrey, Dale and Kim, according to the Times.
Google interviewed Draves’ son, David, who said that she was “gracious and humble”:
Growing up with a mother who was an Olympian came with notoriety, but she was always first-and-foremost, my mom. So that part was pretty ordinary. And as a mom, she had her work cut out for her… I was a handful by myself, and then came my three brothers.
[…] 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.”
After her Olympic victories, Life Magazine named Draves and Decathlete Bob Mathias as the best two American athletes from the Olympic Games, Olympic.com reported.
In 1969, Draves was inducted into Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s International Swimming Hall of Fame, the New York Times reported. In 2005, then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom built and named a park in her honor.
A plaque there reads, “Victoria Manalo Draves was the first Asian American woman to win an Olympic medal … Her achievement continues to serve as an inspiration for all athletes interested in competition regardless of race, creed or national origin.”
Drave died April 11, 2010 in Palm Springs, California at the age of 85 from complications of pancreatic cancer, the Times reported, leaving behind her husband, four children and twin sister Connie.
In her oral history, Draves gave young women interested in becoming world-class divers and other athletes some advice:
If they have the desire they should follow their goals. You never know what a wonderful experience it is to concentrate on something, to set your goals and to work hard for them and then to eventually attain the ultimate. There is so much that happens to you along the way that is so wonderful. The discipline that you learn for yourself, believing in yourself, and meeting other fine people who are involved in whatever activity it is that you are trying to attain. Above all you need to find a good coach. Diving is not a sport that you can do entirely on your own. You need guidance.