Place of residence: Charlotte, N.C.
Why he is a Game Changer: How do you top being only the second African American to win an Olympic gold in swimming? If you’re Jones, 28, you do it by winning another gold medal and two silver medals, in addition to your first individual medal, in your second Olympic Games.
Jones, the only African American to hold a record in swimming, did that in 2012 London Games without, it seems, breaking much of a sweat. But don’t get it twisted, years of hard work and training went in to helping Jones reach his goals.
He lost the gold medal in the 50m freestyle by just a hair.
“I’m thankful that I got second. I was dreaming of gold and I really wanted to get first, but it wasn’t in the cards this time. Getting silver is enough motivation for the future,” Jones said after the event.
But the words were spoken like a true champion. Jones didn’t trash his opponent. Instead, he said he planned to use the second place finish as motivation for the next time.
It’s similar to the way Jones’ mother used his near drowning as a child as a motivation for him to learn how to swim. It’s turned into an excellent career for Jones as well as foster a passion to help others.