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Meet Cullen Jones

Cullen Jones 2 x Olympic Gold Medalist and the first African-American Male to win a Gold Medal at the World University Games. He is a World Record holder and currently holds the American record for the 50m freestyle.

Cullen Jones was born in the Bronx borough of New York City. He relocated together with his family to Irvington, N.J., as a boy. At age five he almost drowned at a water park in Pennsylvania. Following the near-death encounter, his mother enrolled him in swimming training, and despite being an African American competitor in a typically white sport, he excelled in the swimming pool.

Cullen earned a scholarship to North Carolina State University where he would be a four-time ACC Champion as well as an NCAA National Winner in 2006. Also in 2006, he went professional and swam the 50m freestyle in 21.84 seconds at the Pan Pacific Championships, setting a meet record. In the trials for the 2008 Olympics, he set an American record in the 50m freestyle. Cullen qualified for the 4x100m relay team, and in Beijing, he swam the 3rd leg of the spectacular come-from-behind race. This would cement his place in Olympic history by being only the second African American to win swimming gold and by being part of the world record breaking relay team. In July 2009, he yet again established an American record in the 50m, and his awesome time of 21.40 seconds still holds as the best in U.S. history. In the 2012 London Olympic Games, Cullen added to his 2008 relay Gold from Beijing with a Gold medal and 2 Silver medals, including an individual Silver medal in his specialty, the 50m Freestyle.

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