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Move Over Phelps: The “Tiger Woods” Of Swimming Got Gold, Too!

August 20, 2008

It seems to be a statistical fact to someone.  I didn’t do the study, but this “study” claims that blacks and hispanics are more likely to drown than to learn to swim well enough to head for the Olympics.

With the hoopla over Michael Phelps, this young black swimmer, Cullen Jones, is passing on his love for swimming to inner city youths as well as bringing home a little bit of Olympic Gold of his own.  Keep hope and swimming alive!

But, my big story in all this is that of Cullen Jones, who as I write this, is the lone black figure on the medal podium, becoming just the second African-American ever to win a gold medal in swimming and the first to share/hold a world record. The first black swimmer to win the gold was Anthony Ervin, who tied for first in 2000 in the 50m freestyle. Interestingly, Ervin has a Jewish mother and Black and Native-American father and notably downplayed his race/ethnicity in interviews. Aside from the fact that, in his own words, he doesn’t really “look black” (very true),  Ervin said of himself, “I have always known that I am…part African-American and many other things. But I was naive, because I didn’t know that meant anything – or would have the ramifications it did at Trials.”

Photo Via

USA Swimmer Cullen Jones, left, gives swim lessons to Tavion Traynham and five other 8-year-olds at the Butler-Gast YMCA in Omaha on Friday, March 14, 2008. Jones was giving a lesson as part of USA Swimming’s Make a Splash program.


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