Charlotte Olympian, Cullen Jones, shares his ambition

Charlotte Olympian, Cullen Jones, shares his ambition


by NewsChannel 36 Staff

Posted on August 4, 2012 at 11:22 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 4 at 11:40 PM

LONDON, (WCNC) --  SwimMAC’s Cullen Jones is a young man on the move and on a mission. He has a million dollar smile and now, a treasure trove of medals. 

Jones lives in Charlotte, but his journey began years ago with a near drowning. 

"I was under water for about 30 seconds,” said Jones. “They had to pull me out, resuscitate me."

That terrifying moment at the age of five has propelled Jones to the Aquatic Centre in London, where he’s worked hard to win Gold.

"Getting gold isn't everything, but that's what we strive for,” Jones said.

He’s done just that though, winning Gold as part of the Men’s 4x100 Individual Medley Relay.

He’s also won two silver medals.  When he’s not competing, Cullen Jones works hard teaching young kids to swim.

"African Americans are three times more likely to drown than any other race,” Jones said.  “Hispanics, 52 percent of them, do not know how to swim.  These numbers are astounding,"

Last year, he reached a million kids with his program. In a sport that lacks racial diversity Cullen Jones stands out.

His coach, David Marsh, said Jones pushes the boundaries but he’s not surprised.

“Cullen's cry is for more diversity in swimming,” said Marsh. “His cry is for more representation of those that aren't normally swimming. 
Ironically, Jones admits, training for races is not his forte.

"When the lights are on, I'm ready to go,” he said. “I will throw down with the best of them, even if I'm not in the best shape."

His coach said one thing is for sure, Cullen Jones doesn’t like to lose.

In London, Cullen is sharing his room with Ryan Lochte, his best friend.

Both of them are eyeing a future in fashion design and possibly working together.

"I want to start with the jean lines first and then kind of grow from there,” said Jones.

“I know I think he wanted to work with sneakers.  I think they will work together.  So, we'll see what happens." 

As Cullen leaves London, he said he’s ready to relax in Charlotte, but his sites are already set on Rio in 2016.

"It's going be nice to turn my brain off,” he said.  “But yes, Rio is definitely in my sites and something that I'm thinking about."