The last time the Olympics were in London in 1948 was also the first time an Asian American won a gold medal in the Games. That distinction belongs to 91 year-old Dr. Samuel “Sammy” Lee, who was born in Fresno, CA and is of Korean descent.
He won in diving, for those who are interested in such details. It’s worth noting because diving involves jumping into a swimming pool, and swimming pools, as we all know, have a history with racism in the US. From wikipedia:
As a twelve-year-old in 1932, Lee dreamed of becoming a diver, but at the time Latinos, Asians and African-Americans were only allowed to use Fresno’s Brookside Pool on Wednesdays, on what was called “international day”: the day before the pool was scheduled to be drained and refilled with clean water. Because Lee needed a place to practice and could not regularly use the public pool, his coach dug a pit in his backyard and filled it with sand. Lee practiced by jumping into the pit.
So this guy won an Olympic gold medal after learning to dive while jumping into a fucking sand pit in someone’s backyard because white people wouldn’t allow him to train in a regular swimming pool.