Travels from North Carolina, USA
Cullen Jones's speaking fee falls within range: $15,000 to $20,000
After nearly drowning in a Pennsylvania Water Park, Cullen Jones took up swimming, worked hard, and captured Olympic gold. He is the first African-American male to win a Gold Medal at the World University Games and the first African-American to hold a world record in swimming. Since shattering both records and stereotypes, he has been eager to spread his message that, “yeah, black kids can swim, too.”
Cullen Jones won an Olympic Gold Medal as part of the men’s 4×100 meter freestyle relay team at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. In the 2012 London Olympics, he returned to compete in three events, seizing silver in two competitions – 50-meter freestyle and the 4×100-meter freestyle relay – and another gold in the 4×100-meter medley relay.
When he’s not training for his next Olympics (Rio 2016), Cullen works with the Make A Splash program, providing free swimming lessons for children and minorities as part of the USA Swimming Foundation’s campaign to teach kids water safety skills and reduce the nation’s surprisingly high rate of drowning.
Cullen Jones burst onto the swimming scene at the 2005 World University. He easily won the Gold Medal in the 50 freestyle and became the first African-American Male to win a Gold Medal at the World University Games. Cullen continues to dominate the 50-meter sprint event and has also become a threat in the 100 meter freestyle. At the 2006 Pan Pacific Games, Cullen became the first African American to break a world record in swimming in an Olympic contested event as a part of the USA′s 4 X 100 Freestyle Relay Team. He also won the 50 meter freestyle swimming the fastest time in the world for 2006. Cullen is a four-time ACC Champion and 2006 NCAA Champion from North Carolina State University.
In his spare time Cullen Jones gives back to the community through motivational speaking, youth clinics, and even private lessons. Working with USA Swimming Foundation′s Make a Splash Program, Jones is dedicated to helping minorities learn how to swim. A positive role model and an awe-inspiring athlete, Cullen Jones has set the bar high.
Cullen Jones brings sharp humor to his improbable journey from what he refers to as “the ghetto” to the Olympic podium. After nearly drowning in a water park at age five, he discovered a passion for swimming, which was definitely not the sport his basketball-loving father had envisioned him choosing.
Cullen quickly excelled in competition so his parents promptly moved him to a more advanced swim team that would continue to challenge him and help him grow: a swim team at a nearby Jewish Community Center. Cullen recalls his first day there at the pool waiting with his father to meet the rest of his team. “Dad, there ain’t no black people here,” he commented. He recalls his father’s reply, “Well, if you’d played basketball like I had told you…”
Dynamic and charismatic, Cullen Jones has spoken to universities, corporations, and non‐profit organizations regarding his Olympic experience and overcoming adversity to achieve any goal.
Cullen naturally connects with audiences, captivating them with his vibrant personality and light-hearted way of looking at the trials he’s surpassed to make sports history. While certainly entertaining and memorable, his story is also an eloquent and enthusiastic reminder that with dedication and perseverance, incredible things are possible.
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