He's a two-time Olympian, a four-time Olympic medalist and, soon, a father.
Cullen Jones will have to update his social media bios after the Olympic swimmer and his wife, Rupi Desai Jones, announced they’re expecting their first child.
“Believe in dreams, they do come true!” both Joneses posted on their Instagram accounts Tuesday. “We are having a baby! 2019 will be the start of our greatest adventure yet!!”
The hashtag, for good measure: #BabyJones.
Cullen Jones, 34, rose to prominence in elite swimming circles during the late aughts, with his breakout coming at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008, when he swam the third leg in the epic 4x100-meter freestyle.
That was the second race in Michael Phelps’ quest to win a record eight gold medals. Jason Lezak’s blistering anchor leg was just enough to overcome France and secure the gold medal, which the Americans did in world record time.
Four years later in London, Jones added another gold medal in the 4x100 medley, in addition to silver medals in the 50 free and the 4x100 free. Though he just missed out on a spot on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, Jones committed to making a run at 2020.
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The 6-foot-5 Jones, who is from Irvington, New Jersey, was also notable as one of the few black swimmers among the elite American circuit. Jones, who is the first black swimmer to set an Olympic record, went on to become an advocate for teaching children of color to swim through the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative. Rates of drowning among African-American children are much higher than for Caucasians.
Cullen and Rupi married in 2017 in Puerto Rico, after having dated for seven years. This past September for “Wife Appreciation Day,” Cullen shared a message about his wife with TeamUSA.org.
“My wife Rupi is very good at cooking,” he said. “She’s like an amateur chef. She has opened me up to so much more food-wise. Marrying someone of East Indian descent who has had the experiences that she’s had – she’s traveled, she’s tried pretty much everything when it comes to cuisine. But the number one thing is she has an amazing ability to listen to me and give me unbiased opinions.”
Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.