Cullen Jones heading back to the Olympics

Congratulations to Charlotte native and NC State alum, Cullen Jones, who is heading back to the Olympics!

OMAHA, Neb.— Cullen Jones is going to a second straight Olympics after an up-and-down couple of years.

Jason Lezak is headed to London, too, as a 36-year-old father of two.

They were part of a loaded field of Olympic medalists in the 100-meter freestyle final on Friday night at the U.S. swimming trials.

[snip]

Jones went out strong and hung on from the far outside lane to touch in 48.46, giving the first African-American ever to win an Olympic swimming gold medal a shot at adding to his collection.

“It means a lot,” he said. “I had some definite doubts the last couple years.”

Now 28, Jones swam on the winning 400 freestyle relay in Beijing that set a world record. The victory raised his profile and he parlayed his credibility into a major role with USA Swimming’s Make a Splash campaign that encourages minorities to learn to swim.

“Although a lot of my work is positive in talking to kids, I wanted to live, I wanted to enjoy what I had gotten in 2008,” he said.

So he made the rounds of the celebrity circuit. A fashion fiend outside of the pool, Jones posed for magazine spreads, attended parties and enjoyed the spoils that come from winning a gold medal.

That led to some quiet years since Beijing, with Jones not making the team for last year’s world championships in Shanghai and then missing the championship final of the 50 free at U.S. nationals.

“I refocused this past year,” he said. “A lot of the coaches from the national team who were in Shanghai said to me, ‘We need you for this relay, we need one of the best 100 freestylers in the U.S. to be ready come London because the world is getting faster,’ and I’m happy I could answer that call.”

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11 Responses to Cullen Jones heading back to the Olympics

  1. dashowstopper 07/01/2012 at 10:04 AM #

    Cullen is a great ambassador for the sport of swimming. Wolfpackers should be proud. Go for Gold in London.

  2. cWOhLFrPAiCKs 07/01/2012 at 10:24 AM #

    It was magical watching the swimming events in 2008, especially the relay race since Cullen was in it. Here’s hoping to another year of amazing feats and lots of Gold for the USA!

  3. tlk1969 07/01/2012 at 12:40 PM #

    It will be great to see him swim for *U.S.* again!

  4. Lunatic Fringe 07/01/2012 at 4:09 PM #

    Good article from 2010 on Cullen Jones…his start in swimming (his parents enrolled him in lessons 3 days after nearly drowning in pool) along with his work to Make a Splash program.

    http://www.cullenjones.com/documents/Cullen%20Sports%20Illustrated.pdf

  5. 4in12 07/01/2012 at 6:46 PM #

    Dear Mr. Jones,

    If you win the relay this year, STAY WITH THE OTHER GUYS! You were robbed four years ago when the press splashed the picture of three guys that won a 4x relay all over the place!

  6. highstick 07/01/2012 at 7:07 PM #

    Great to hear that about Cullen. I work with Ricky Beren’s Dad and it’s great to have both of them back on that relay team!

  7. Lunatic Fringe 07/01/2012 at 8:26 PM #

    Cullen just won 50M. :)

  8. dashowstopper 07/01/2012 at 8:31 PM #

    AWESOME swim by Cullen.

  9. Lunatic Fringe 07/01/2012 at 8:32 PM #

    I would think Cullen a lock for next year’s NC State HOF inductees especially if he walks away with another medal or two. :)

  10. tuckerdorm1983 07/02/2012 at 7:35 AM #

    indeed

  11. choppack1 07/02/2012 at 9:18 PM #

    Awesome Olympic trials for cullen Jones. To quote Joe biden winning the 50 m free is “a big !#@*ing deal.”

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