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According to Census 2000, there are 10.2 million Asian Americans in the United States, a number that is anticipated to grow significantly in the years ahead.
Yet ask average sports fans to name an Asian American athlete and most would struggle to rattle off but a handful of familiar names.
A year after earning his medical degree, he became the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal, finishing first on the 10-meter diving platform at the 1948 London Games and again at the 1952 Helsinki Games.
Already a veteran of World War II, Lee served another tour of duty in Korea in 1953, where he learned he had won the James E. Only 5-feet, 2-inches tall, Lee overcame discrimination to attain his goals.
The American needed six stitches in a thigh wound and was brought to the medal ceremony in a wheelchair.
Eddie the Eagle, a shortsighted plasterer from Cheltenham, became an overnight hero as the worst skijumper ever for his antics at Calgary in 1988.
Some, like many Asian Pacific Islanders, have come to escape poverty.
Toward the end of the 20th Century, the discussion broadened to include Latinos.
But as we begin Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the nation's fastest growing population group continues to lag far behind as participants in sport.
A Korean American whose appetite for Olympic competition was first whet when he attended the 1932 Los Angeles Games, he practiced diving at the Los Angeles Swim Stadium and the Brookside pool, where only whites could use the pool every day but Wednesday.
After Lee and other people of color used it, the pool was drained and there was fresh water for whites by Thursday morning.