During her years at Glendale College from 1947 to 1949, Juno Stover was known on campus as a vivacious girl who was happy to blend in with the student body during the day and perform as a cheerleader at athletic events in the evening and on weekends.
What her fellow students may not have known was that Juno Stover, as a teenager, was already considered one of the best divers in the world and would later become one of a handful of athletes to compete in four consecutive Olympic games from 1948 to 1960. She won the bronze medal in 1952 in Helsinki, Finland, and the silver medal in 1956 in Melbourne, Australia.
Stover was born in Los Angeles, but her family moved to Glendale when she was a young teenager and she attended Toll Junior High and Hoover High. It was during those years that she took up diving at Indian Springs Swimming Facility in Montrose and her prowess led her to be discovered by Dr. Sammy Lee, a two-time gold medalist and legendary coach at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
At that point in her life, diving transitioned from a recreational sport to a priority as she trained two nights a week and on Saturdays throughout high school, with Bud Lyndon of the Pasadena Athletic Club as her coach. She was introduced to platform diving off the 10-meter board in 1947 and won the Junior Nationals that same year.
Like Bob McMillen, who was also a student at Glendale College when he earned a spot on the 1948 Olympic team, Stover made the team and took the trip to London where she finished fifth against the best divers in the world. She also finished fourth in the 1960 Olympics in Rome.
In 1950 she married Russ Irwin. In 1951 her son, Michael, was born. Incredibly, in between each Olympics until after she retired following the 1960 Rome Olympics, Juno gave birth to five children. She was 31/2 months pregnant with her daughter Maureen during the 1952 Helsinki games when she earned the bronze medal.
Although she retired from competition over 40 years ago, Juno Stover Irwin remains close to the sport by coaching diving at the junior college and collegiate level, including a stint at UC Berkeley. She was named one of the City of Glendale’s 10 foremost athletes of all time in 1975 and was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1980.