(USATODAY.com) - Sammy Lee, the first Asian-American to win Olympic gold for the U.S., was found safe and sound Tuesday night in Pico Rivera, Calif., according to police.
Lt. Gary Faust of the Huntington Beach Policetold theLos Angeles Timesthat Lee, who suffers from dementia and heart problems, drove from Huntington Beach to Mojave to Studio City before being found.
Lee, 92, left his Huntington Beach home at 3 p.m. Monday to go swimming as he usually does but had not been heard from since, until authorities found him in Pico Rivera.
Lee bought gas Tuesday morning in Mojave, leading police to search for his Mercedes with a license plate that reads "2GOLDS." Faust said authorities traced Lee's credit card again to another gas station at about 5:30 p.m. PT Tuesday in Studio City.
Lee became the first man to win back-to-back gold medals in diving at the 1948 and 1952 Games. He would go on to coach the U.S. diving team, including mentoring Olympic medalist Greg Louganis.
As the son of Korean immigrants, he weathered intense racism while competing. He was only allowed to use a local pool in Fresno, Calif., one day per week, so his coach dug him a sand pit in his backyard to practice on dry land. Lee is in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and has a square named in his honor in Los Angeles' Koreatown.
Olympic gold medalist Janet Evans had tweeted earlier Tuesday: "Pls pray for Sammy Lee's safe return. He is a friend and hero to so many of us"