Name: Sammy Lee
Sport: Diving
Event(s): Three-meter, 10-meter
DOB: 8/1/1920
Birthplace: Fresno, Calif.
Hometown: Fresno, Calif.
High School: Benjamin Franklin High School (Fresno, Calif.)
College: Occidental College; University of Southern California Medical School
Olympic Experience
  • Two-time Olympian (1948, 1952); three-time Olympic medalist (2 golds, 1 bronze)
  • London 1948, gold (10-meter), bronze (three-meter)
  • Helsinki 1952, gold (10-meter)
Personal: The son of Korean immigrants...Worked for several years at his parents’ restaurant...Settled on diving as his sport after a friend taught him how to do a one-and-a-half somersault...Was only permitted to use his community’s public pool one day a week when all non-white children could swim before the pool was drained and cleaned for the white children...Used his short stature to his advantage in diving, tucking tighter and turning faster than his opponents...Earned his M.D. from the University of Southern California Medical School...Served as an U.S. Army doctor during the Korean Wear, rising to the rank of major...He only took time off to compete in the Olympic Games Helsinki 1952 at the insistence of his superiors...Published a book in 1979 entitled, “Diving”…Father to two children, Pamela and Sammy II.