Asian-Americans Who Did It First In Olympic History

Asian-Americans did it first: Here are some of the outstanding Asian American athletes who made history in the field of sports.

Photo Courtesy: Team USA

Victoria "Vicky" Taylor Manalo Draves

She was not only beautiful but athletic as well. Vicky Draves participated in a ten-meter platform and the three-meter springboard earning gold in both events during the 1948 London Summer Olympics.

She had Filipino roots thanks to her father and English roots from her mother. Experiencing racial discrimination, She was asked to conceal her Filipino identity (Manalo) and bring to light her American heritage (Taylor) in order to participate in a dive.

With her hard work and dedication, she became the first ever double gold medalist in the said event. After the olympics she set up a school to teach other aspiring divers.


Photo Courtesy: US Olympics & Paralympic Museum

Apolo Anton Ohno

Apolo Anton Ohno earned the title "The Most Decorated American at the Winter Olympics", a "Eighth-Time Medalist" for speed skating and entered the Olympic Hall of Fame by 2019.

Apolo Ohno had Japanese, European-American roots.

After the Olympics, he focused on a switch of profession. Aside from being an entrepreneur, he had so much passion for writing and continued to influence, advise, and guide those people who will undergo career transitions.

"This transition process starts from having self-acceptance and self-love — which, by the way, full transparency, I really, really struggled with that," Ohno stated.


Photo Courtesy: Times of India

Dipa Karmakar

The first Indian gymnast to qualify for the olympics. She enthralled many with her selfless performances, coming just short of winning the prize. India's very own "Small Wonder," as her biography is titled.

She has always struggled to overcome the odds and defy expectations. She was born with a flat foot, a postural deformity that is thought to be a big disadvantage for any gymnast.

Nevertheless, she was honored with the "Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna," India's highest sporting award.


Asian Americans did great and still continues to be great in the field of sports. These people where the firsts of their skills and athlethesism and will surely be followed by more Asian-Americans in the times to come. 

What sports do you play? Comment down below.

Written by: Ellyssa van Schaijk

Ellyssa van Schaijk is a digital marketing intern of PS Media Enterprise. She is a 3rd-year Bachelor of Arts in Communication student from Batangas State University-Arasof Nasugbu Campus, Philippines.


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