At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, Cullen Jones burst on to the international scene with his stellar performance in the 4x100m relay with teammates Michael Phelps, Jason Lezak, and Garrett Weber-Gale.
RELATED: Who Is Cullen Jones?
The men’s swimming team would make Americans proud as they clinched the gold for their country in the world record time of 3:08.24, and a conversation was instantly started about who the sole Black man was on the historic team.
Since then, the public has gotten acquainted with the Irvington, N.J.-born Jones, whose Olympic win sprung him to the forefront of the national USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Initiative, where, as their spokesman, Jones encourages minority children to become (what he coins) “waterproof.”
However, Jones’ profile would be taken to an entirely different level as the 2012 London Olympics came in to view. Now the previously unknown Jones could be seen as a key part of the Who’s Who of the U.S. Olympic team, and after returning Stateside this week with one gold in the 4x100m medley relay, one silver in the 4x100m relay, and one silver in the individual 50m freestyle, it is easy to see why he is considered to be one of the premier swimmers in the world.
On Tuesday, NewsOne Senior Editor Abena Agyeman-Fisher sat down with Jones to discuss his favorite moments of the London games, why it is important to inspire other Black youth to swim, and whether the public will have the benefit of catching a glimpse of him in Rio in 2016.