Irene MacDonald excelled as an athlete, coach and sports communicator. She was Canadian diving champion from 1951 to 1961. During that time, she won Canadian national honours 15 times, U.S. national titles six times, Mexican national titles twice, and medals in the Commonwealth Games in 1954 (bronze) and 1958 (silver), and in the Olympics in 1956 (bronze).
When she retired from active competition, she began coaching and created a legacy of friends, admirers, athletes, and international colleagues. She is a member of the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame.
Irene MacDonald distinguished herself for he skill, her knowledge and her vitality. She brought this province and this country great honour and inspired and trained many others to take their place on the world stage. She gave her best to young people and planted the seeds of greatness in many of them.
“I feel happy when I’m working with young children,” she has said of her coaching career. For some 30 years, her athletes took medals at many international competitions. During those years, she was far more than simply a paid coach. Many times, at her own expense, she made it possible for divers to take part in competitions.
Her enthusiastic, insightful commentary informed CBC television audiences and raised the profile of diving. She retired earlier this year as technical director for diving in the province. She continues to volunteer her time and energy to diving.
Her dedication to sport and to young people has been unselfish and unwavering. Its legacy has been outstanding divers and outstanding citizens.