The Annual Paragon Awards, sponsored by Pentair Aquatic Systems, are presented for outstanding contributions to: Competitive Swimming, Water Polo, Competitive Diving, Aquatic Safety, Synchronized Swimming and Recreational Swimming.
Chairman FINA Technical Diving Committee
2011 Paragon Award / Competitive Diving
In the words of Jesus Mena, “Usually when someone works as a volunteer there is no recognition expected because we do it for delight and passion. We are not waiting for anything in return.”
That’s what happened to Jesus with diving. When he was eight years old, he found diving to be the best sport in the world. He had the opportunity of competing in many events representing his country Mexico and became National champion, Central American champion, World Junior champion and Bronze Medallist in the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games on the 10m platform.
As a retired diver, he was entrusted to be responsible for diving in Mexico preparing himself to be a judge. Then he organized the 1997 World Cup and the Grand Prix Super Final that is the background of the Diving World Series. During that time, Mexico developed outstanding including Fernando Platas, Olympic silver medallist on the 3m Springboard in Sydney 2000.
As a judge, he participated in every possible event including World Cup, World Championships and Olympic Games.
In 2000, he was invited to be part of the FINA Technical Diving Committee, now in his second term as chairman. In his humble way, Jesus is deeply honored to have worked, learned, been taught by and shared with the diving community, his family. The sport has improved over the past 11 years with a School for Judges and the World Series. He knows that challenges are still ahead, but comments “We have high spirits and we will continue working as if it was our first day.”
A strong family man, Jesus considers his parents Guadalupe and Jesus the best in the world. “They taught me to believe in dreams, to fight and work hard to make them come true. I was witness of their total devotion to their children.” Brother and sister, Didier and Enevy, have always shown an unconditional love.
Says Jesus, “By receiving this recognition I want to thank a friend from whom I have learned to work, to honor the pledged word, to keep commitments and to think that there can be a better place to live, that man is Enrique Peña Nieto, Governor of the State of Mexico.
I receive this recognition thanks to an exceptional woman, whom I admire, respect and deeply love, my wife Paulina. Since we first met 23 years ago, she has always been my support; she has encouraged and driven me. Her advice, her timely word and her love have guided and given me reason to dedicate to my sport. We have two children Paulina and Jesus. We love them both above everything else. Thanks to my wife who makes a praising raising labor although I get absent from home. I receive this recognition with complete knowledge of the commitment I am acquiring. The persons who have received them before me are people I respect and appreciate; they are my friends. Thanks to those who considered that I have the necessary merits to be awarded. "