California native and Olympic diver Sammy Lee had to train in a sand pit because Asian Americans – and other minority groups – could not use the public pool some six decades ago.
But that didn’t stop him from winning the gold in the 1948 London Olympics.
“In my day, they said you had to be white to win the gold, because the white man has a ‘better looking body,'” said Lee, who turned 92 Wednesday.
Photos from Lee’s legendary career as the first Asian-American to win Olympic gold cast him in stark contrast to his much larger teammates.
Lee — a retired doctor who lives in Southern California — says at his peak, he was 5-feet-2-inches tall. Now, he stands less than 5 feet tall.
Lee says he fooled them all because he was “short and squatty.”