Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds

Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds

The Sammy Lee Story

Book - 2005
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On a summer day in 1932, twelve-year-old Sammy Lee watched enviously as divers catapulted into the public swimming pool. Sammy desperately wanted to try diving himself, but the Korean American boy - like any person of color - was only allowed to use the pool one day a week.

This discrimination did not weaken Sammy's newfound passion for diving, and soon he began a struggle between his dream of becoming an Olympic champion and his father's wish for him to become a doctor. Over sixteen years Sammy faced numerous challenges, but he overcame them all and fulfilled both his dream and his father's. In 1948 Dr. Sammy Lee dove into Olympic history. A matter of seconds after his final platform dive, the scores appeared and Sammy Lee became the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal.

Sammy Lee's story of determination and triumph sets an extraordinary example for anyone striving to fulfill a dream. Winner of Lee & Low's New Voices Award, Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds will inspire all who read it.

Publisher: New York : Lee & Low Books, c2005.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781584302476
Branch Call Number: j B LEE S
Characteristics: 1 volumes (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm.
Additional Contributors: Lee, Dom 1959-


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Feb 04, 2018

I was moved by the story of Sammy Lee as he struggled with both his personal ambitions in a racist country and his father's desires to secure his future. Although the Korean-American father-son relationship is fraught with tension (at least in popular American literature), this story resolves it nicely, as Sam understands that his father does not endure insults and racism because he is weak and unable to change things, but because he is trying to face an unfair world with honor and dignity. This was the most important lesson of the book, I thought, and it enabled Sam to bridge both his father's desires for his future and his own desires.

The story of Sam's relationship with his coach moved me as well. While, at first glance, we can't guarantee that we will meet the mentor of our dreams, this part of the story does jibe with the saying that "luck is when opportunity meets readiness." Maybe we won't all find what we need when we want it, but we can be responsive to what we need when it arrives.

Dec 24, 2016

Nice summation of the remarkable life of a twice Olympic champion and medical doctor who overcame serious obstacles along the way. Though written for young readers, it satisfied this adult reader.


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