This article is sponsored by Citi.
Cullen Jones was literally a fish out of water when he was growing up in the Bronx. As a child, he nearly drowned at a water park.
But he eventually learned to swim at his local community pool and went from a kid who didn’t know how to swim to a gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympian almost 20 years later. Cullen, 28, won his medal as a member of the freestyle relay team at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Adding to his list of accomplishments, Cullen is now one of 13 athletes whom Citi is sponsoring in itsEvery Step of the WaySM program. This innovative digital program benefits U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls and athletes of all ages in communities across America.
Already a corporate sponsor of Team USA and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), Citi wanted to do more by creating a way to help fund U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sport Programs that have inspired Citi's team of 13 athletes. Citi also wanted to make it possible for its customers and Olympic fans to get in on the action.
Citi launched its program with a $500,000 donation to the USOC represented by 50 million ThankYou® Points - the currency of Citi ThankYouRewards. The unique Every Step of the Way program allows fans to help allocate these ThankYou Points to Sport Programs through activity on Facebook and Twitter, allowing Team Citi athletes to say "thank you" to the Sport Programs that have inspired them.
The more fans participate through Facebook and Twitter, the more ThankYou Points they can direct to their Sport Program of choice, until its goal is reached. At the end of the program, the USOC will use Citi's donation to give the cash equivalent of the ThankYou Points directly to the Sport Program matched with the Team Citi athlete.
Cullen is supporting the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Initiative, which educates communities on water safety and the importance of learning how to swim. His efforts may inspire kids to follow in his footsteps and give them a life-saving skill they might not otherwise have a chance to learn.
Support Cullen’s quest for gold and Make a Splash through the Every Step of the Way application on Facebook. Follow Cullen on Twitter.
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