[The Olympic Gold Medalist] Meet Professional Swimmer Cullen Jones

[Passion to Purpose] Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer Cullen Jones

Image: Cullen Jones
Image: Cullen Jones

While Jones has reached much success within his career, he makes it clear that his biggest reward is being able to connect with the kids who look up to him.

“Professionally, I’ve had a lot of success in my life but working with kids and taking a step back and looking at my career, I think working with the USA Swimming Foundation and Make a Splash tour is really my biggest triumph,” said Jones. “We are nearly at 3.5 million kids and we started at zero.”

As one of the few African Americans who have found acclaimed success in his field, Jones admits that he faced a lot of self-doubt early in his career.

“It was so many different questions throughout the road in terms of why am I doing this and how do I get to the next level,” he said. “I think what set me apart was just something that my parents instilled in me at a young age, which was no matter who or what’s around you, if you have a dream you stick with it.”

Holding tight to the words that his parents whispered in his ear at a young age, Jones has clearly made his dreams a reality with not one, but two Olympic gold medals under his belt and two silver medals after competing in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

As someone who is charting a path of his own to be a trailblazer in the sport of swimming, Jones says that when thinks of the term BE Modern Man he is reminded of the constantly changing world that we live in where new interests and industry leaders are created on a daily basis.

“I think as a culture, we’re jumping into things that we’ve never done before and I think that is the definition of being modern. We are into things like chess, we’re into pool and we’re into skating and all kinds of different things. I applaud that. I always say to people, ‘Dare to be different,'” adds Jones. “My dad was a basketball player and wanted me to be a basketball player. I think if he was alive today, he would be very proud to see me doing something different and being successful at it.”

Black Enterprise salutes Cullen Jones for not only his contribution to the sport of swimming, but for the impact that he continues to make in his community. We wish him nothing but success as he prepares to compete in the upcoming 2016 Olympics.