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January 5th, 2012
02:46 PM ET

Olympian Cullen Jones inspires kids to swim

In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle - injury, illness or other hardship - they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed. This week, Cullen Jones, the first African- American male to hold a world record in the sport of swimming shares his story of how he became involved in the sport.

Many people always ask me: How did you get into swimming? The answer is simple, but not one that people are ready to hear. 

At the age of five, I almost drowned. It was an ordinary weekend with my parents. My father, who was 6'4", decided he wanted to get on the biggest ride in the amusement park. Since he was my hero, I followed him and wanted to get on the ride.  My mother protested, but we convinced her that it would be OK. 
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