2012 The Root 100
 

Cullen Jones is a record-breaking swimmer and Olympian who advocates for water safety.

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  • Cullen Jones

  • Champion swimmer and Olympian who advocates for water safety.
  • Job: Olympic swimmer and water-safety advocate
  • Sector: Sports
  • Twitter: @CullenJones
  • Location: Charlotte, N.C.
  • Age: 28
  • Bio: Cullen Jones, who nearly drowned at a water park when he was 5, turned that near-tragedy into an Olympic career. After his parents enrolled him in swimming lessons, Jones went on to become the first African-American male swimmer to hold a world record and the second African American to win a gold medal, as a member of the 4x100 freestyle team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. At the 2012 London Games, he won gold as a member of the 4x100 medley team and silver as a member of the 4x100 freestyle team. He also earned his first individual medal, taking silver in the 50-meter freestyle. At a time when 70 percent of African-American children don't know how to swim, Jones is a water-safety advocate for USA Swimming Foundation's "Make a Splash" initiative, which is dedicated to decreasing the number of drowning deaths by teaching children to swim.
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