Helen Meany (USA)
Honor Diver (1971)
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1920 (participant); 1924 5th (platform); 1928 gold (3m springboard); U.S. NATIONAL AAU DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS: 17.
No woman has dominated American diving for so long a period as Hall of Fame Honor Diver, Helen Meany. Helen Meany represented the United States in three Olympics — 1920, 1924 and 1928. She won an unprecedented 17 U.S. National AAU diving championships for the famed New York Women’s Swimming Association.
Helen Meany was most consistent off the 10 meter tower, winning the high dive continuously from 1920 through 1928 when she was declared “professional” for appearing in an unsanctioned Miami Beach water show with Johnny Weissmuller, Martha Norelius and Pete Desjardins. As an amateur, who knows how many more diving crowns Helen Meany and Pete Desjardins could have gone on winning.
Helen Meany’s career as a diver reached its climax when she won the gold medal as the 1928 Olympic champion off the 3 meter springboard in Amsterdam. Her “Grantland Rice Spotlights” filmed at Silver Springs with partner Pete Desjardins made diving look desirable for a whole new generation of American athletes. Helen’s greatest thrill in a long career of diving memories was “an invitation to participate in a three day meet in Tokyo in honor of Prince Chichibus’ wedding. 1928 Olympic winners were invited to participate including Johnny Weissmuller, Wally Laufer and Arne Borg. I was the only woman invited.”