Before we leave the topic of that amazing U.S. relay race and Cullen Jones -- whom I tackled one last time in a fairly thorough story here for the Aug.12 newspaper -- I'll say a couple more words about him.
First of all, he was raised right. I've included a picture here of Cullen and his Mom, who is a sharp woman with Cullen's smile. She and her late husband nurtured Cullen's swimming dream throughout his life ( Cullen's father, a non-smoker, died of lung cancer in 2000).
Second, he wasn't afraid to strike out of his comfort zone when things weren't working. I'm convinced Jones wouldn't have made this Olympic team had he not moved from Raleigh to Charlotte four months ago, taking up with a new coach (David Marsh) and changing several things about his technique.
Third, it's just too bad Jones didn't make an individual event here as well. He was soooo close to also qualifying in the 50 freestyle, but didn't make it. That would allow him to stay in the spotlight he obviously enjoys a little longer this week. But if you're only going to swim one event in these Olympics, Cullen ended up in the right one. That 4x100 -- with its backstory and its amazing comeback -- was a race for the ages.