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Cullen Jones, a U.S. freestyle sprint swimmer and now Olympic gold medalist made history at the Olympics when he swam a leg (split of 47.96) in the world record breaking 4×100 m Freestyle Relay along with Michael Phelps, Jason Lezak and Neil Walker. In an Olympic sport that does not appear to boast many swimmers of color, it was a pleasant and gratifying surprise to see this young brother from the Bronx on the team. Even more thrilling was watching him contribute to a world record shattering gold medal performance along with his teammates. The incredible performance of Michael Phelps at this Olympics has understandably overshadowed Cullens presence and contribution, as it has his other teammates, in particular Jason Lezak, who I would argue is the man that won that relay, hawking down from behind Bernard of France to win gold.

Cullen’s quiet contribution to victory was heartwarming, thrilling and inspiring. The star power of Phelps shines so brightly that these other stories are getting far less oxygen by comparison, but I hope Black America will take every opportunity following these Olympics to acknowledge and honor Cullen’s contribution, committment and outstanding representation of his country and his community.


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