Unveiling Obstacles Faced by the First Woman Diving Olympic Champion as USA Celebrates Her 99th Birthday

Published 12/30/2023, 11:53 PM EST

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Olympic water sports are slated to take place in two venues this time, in the French capital. One venue term to be much argued is Teahupo’o. Another one is the grandezza-filled indoor capacity of the Aquatics Center. Except for the tormenting part that loomed over the surfing venue in Teahupo’o, both the venue may defeat any of its predecessors in the run. Moreover, the prejudices fade away mostly now that were prevalent in the last century

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The 1948 Olympic occasion could vouch for that. That year could also testify to the rise of a champion who’d not perished in these situations, only to see herself flying higher. 

Vicki Draves’ rise to the top in the Olympic arena

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December 31, 1924, commemorated the birth event of Olympic diver Vicki Draves. But the year couldn’t mark the later happenings that would turn Victoria Taylor Manalo into Vicki Draves. As narrated by The Kahimyang Project, Vicki’s parents were Filipino Americans. Diving came to Vicki in her serendipity, at 16 years of age. That was just 8 years before the 1948 Olympic games, the birthplace of the renowned diving phenom. Her introduction to diving rode out through a certain Phil Patterson. Since then, Vicki has flown over the obstacles that had once tormented her belongings. 

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First, Vicki changed her name from Victoria Taylor Manalo and took admission to Patterson’s school. Since then, there has been no harking back to the prejudices. She took some day-to-day jobs and continued her diving training. Meanwhile, she entered into the 1948 Summer Olympics with bagging consecutive wins at the national level. August 3 was the most remarkable day as Vicki chose the day to win her first 3-meter springboard laurel. On August 6, she clinched the 10-meter platform diving, only becoming the first woman in the episode. Later, the honor filled her like nothing else. 

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The due celebration 

Vicki Draves received her first cachet from her coach-turned-husband, Lyle Draves, who stood beside her in thick and thin. Later, after pulling off the Olympic conquest, Life Magazine garlanded her, considering her one of the two best USA athletes of that event. Vicki Draves appeared in several aquatic shows after changing her competitive diving persona. In 1968, she joined legendary Olympic sprinter Jesse Owens for a charity reason that etched her name far deeper in history. 

Who is the Greatest Diver of All Time in the Olympics?

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The recognition wasn’t late as in 1969, Vicki Draves entered the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Her birthplace didn’t stay far behind. In 2006, one park in San Francisco was named after her. City College of the SF also awarded her with prestigious bays. After she died in 2010, Google didn’t let her go missing in history. The 2020 Google Doodle on August 3 was the proof of that. 

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Written by:

Prasun Chakrabarty

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One take at a time

Hello there! I am Prasun Chakrabarty, an Olympics sports writer at EssentiallySports. Being an adrenaline junkie, I take a keen interest in creating insights about various avenues of the sporting realm. As an ardent swimming enthusiast, I take inspiration from the Baltimore Bullet Michael Phelps and love to create insights on various nooks and crannies around the turquoise turf.
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Edited by:

BHUJAYA RAY CHOWDHURY

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