This is my second most read post of all time, written in 2015.
Sammy Lee on a diving tower.
Here’s an excerpt of an obituary from SwimSwam.com after Sammy Lee died at the age of 96.
Permission from SwimSwam.com
Sammy Lee, Olympic Gold Medalist and Doctor:
Dr. Lee overcame years of racial prejudice with a positive attitude and hard work. As a young diver aspiring to be an Olympian, he was only allowed to practice diving Wednesdays at the Pasadena’s Brookside Park segregated public pool on “International Day.”
The pool was drained after International Day and white children swam the other six days a week. His coach at the time, dug a hole and filled it with sand so Sammy Lee could practice the rest of the week. He believed diving into sand made his legs stronger and was helpful to his Olympic aspirations.
As a civilian, Lee discovered that his status as a veteran didn’t shield him from prejudice. He and his wife Rosalind were turned away when they wanted to buy a home in one part of Orange County. Eventually, they bought a home nearby from a sympathetic developer. Eventually they owned a house with a pool, where Lee coached students. He also coached divers for the 1960 Rome Olympics. Later, he’d mentor Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis, and he served as an ambassador to the Olympics under three presidents.
Here’s is a link to the USC Obituary that describes Dr. Sammy Lee’s life in more detail.
Eventually Sammy invited Jim, Ray, Bobby and others including myself to his home, then in Garden Grove to practice on his diving board which was combined not with a pool but a back yard pile of sand. So all “dives” had to end up feet first.
Bob and Ralph Longbothem, who worked then as head of either the Santa Ana or Orange County Recreation Departments worked together as a result looking for such a facility.
What are your thoughts of how hard Sammy Lee had to work, the prejudice he faced from striving to be an Olympic Diver and not being able to use the pool?
As an adult he was blocked from buying a home in Orange County despite being serving our country, being an Olympic Gold Medalist and a doctor.
What are your thoughts about adult kids being annoyed with you? Is it deserved or is it growing pains?
Do you think when people close to us are going through rough times, it’s easy for them to take it out on those closest to them?
I was invited as a reporter to an event in Mission Viejo several years ago. Babashoff was the guest speaker. I noticed how generous Babashoff was with her time answering questions, letting attendees try on her Olympic medals and snap selfies with her. Her sense of humor, outspoken and down-to-earth answers were refreshing.
THE EARLY YEARS IN CALIFORNIA:
MISSION VIEJO NADADORES AND MARK SCHUBERT:
ENCOUNTERS WITH THE EAST GERMAN WOMEN:
1976 MONTREAL OLYMPICS:
“Shirley, Shirley! What do you think of the East German team?”
“What can you tell us about the East German team?”
The questions were all redundant and overlapping. But I stopped for a moment and said into one of the reporters’ microphones, “Well except for their deep voices and mustaches, I think they’ll probably do fine.”
I saw some eyes widen and a couple of jaws drop. The reporters then fired off a couple of follow-up questions, which I answered basically the same way. Then I got on the bus and went back to the village to have dinner with my teammates.
VIDEO OF THE 4 x 100 FREE RELAY WHERE THE US WOMEN’S TEAM WON GOLD AT THE 1976 OLYMPICS — beating the East Germans:
THE RECORD BOOKS:
What are your thoughts about Shirley Babashoff being outspoken about what she saw happening with the East German swimmers and the media turning against her?
Here’s an excerpt:
Feelings, in the enterprise of your life, are like weather to a construction company. If it rains or snows or is unseasonably hot, it affects the ability to get work done. But the right response is not trying to change the weather (which would be impossible) or wishing the weather were different (which doesn’t help). It is having contingency plans in place for bad weather, being ready, and managing projects in a way that is appropriate to the conditions on a given day.https://www.wsj.com/lifestyle/the-power-to-decide-how-you-feel-9550c0c7?mod=lifestyle_lead_pos4
For example, let’s imagine you have a job that is really bringing you down. Let’s say you are bored and stressed, and your boss isn’t competent. You come home every day tired and frustrated, and you wind up drinking too much and watching a lot of dumb television to distract your mind. Tomorrow, try a new tactic. During the day, take a few minutes every hour or so, and ask, “How am I feeling?” Jot it down. Then after work, journal your experiences and feelings over the course of the day. Also write down how you responded to these feelings, and which responses were more and less constructive.
Have you heard about metacognition before? What are your thoughts about “thinking about thinking?”
Do you worry more about the unknown, not having information or do you worry more once you have all the facts and it’s not good news?
The article was called “Cancer Runs in Families. Too Few Are Getting Tested.”
by Brianna Abbott:
Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider knew what her father’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis meant for his future. She didn’t realize what it meant for her own cancer risk.
Steven Ungerleider’s doctors ordered genetic testing in 2022 to see if his cancer might respond to a new treatment. They found he had a mutation in the BRCA2 gene, which raises risks for cancers including pancreatic, breast and ovarian—and can be passed from parents to children.
Ungerleider and her sister got tested and discovered they had the same mutation.
“I had no idea that this was possible for me,” said Ungerleider, 43, an internal medicine doctor and founder of End Well, a nonprofit focused on end-of-life care.
Doctors are recommending genetic tests to more cancer patients and their families. Testing costs have dropped, and the results are helping doctors choose newer targeted drugs and encourage relatives to confront their own cancer risk.
“We can test you for dozens of genes at the same time, and it’s going to influence your treatment,” said Dr. Jewel Samadder, co-leader of the Office of Precision Medicine at the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center in Phoenix.
Here’s more from the article:
Some 10% of cancers are associated with genetic inheritance, including the BRCA mutations linked to breast and ovarian cancer risk in the 1990s. BRCA mutations have since been linked to other cancers, and dozens more gene variations have been shown to raise cancer risks.
Doctors have broadened guidelines for who should get tested, including all patients with ovarian, metastatic prostate and pancreatic cancer and some with colorectal and breast. Some are pushing for universal testing after some studies showed that around half of genetic cancer links are missed under standard testing guidance.https://www.wsj.com/health/healthcare/cancer-runs-in-families-too-few-are-getting-tested-4e14b8a6?mod=Searchresults_pos2&page=1
What are your thoughts about cancer running in families? Would you get tested if your parents or siblings had cancer? Would you recommend friends to have testing done?