One grew up never watching television. Another ironically embraced swimming after a near-drowning accident as a young boy. Two were raised in households with a league of athletic siblings. Whether playing the guitar, skydiving, or spending time with their kids during their downtime, these Olympic athletes show that there’s more to life than competitive sports. Here are 10 interesting things that you probably didn’t know about some of 2012′s Olympic athletes from New Jersey!

Sicklerville, NJ

Sport: Wrestling (Men’s Freestyle 74kg/163 lbs)

When Sicklerville’s Jordan Burroughs isn’t challenging competitors on the wrestling mat, he’s busy being a part-time manny. That’s right – when asked if he works, Burroughs proudly confessed that he babysits for his coach’s 4-year-old and 2-year-old children! Read more about Jordan Burroughs in his bio.

Berlin, NJ

Sport: Field Hockey

One of seven, all of Berlin native Rachel Dawson’s siblings are competitive athletes. Including Rachel, the family ranges from fellow US National Team members to college field hockey, football, and baseball players. Read more about Rachel Dawson in her bio.

Browns Mills, NJ

Sport: Shooting (Men’s 10m Air Rifle and Men’s 50m Rifle, 3 Pos.)

Burlington County native Matt Emmons shows his softer side when he’s not shooting his rifle. Besides being an Olympic marksman, he plays the guitar and especially enjoys playing songs by famous artists such as Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and the Beatles. Read more about Matt Emmons in his bio.

Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Sport: Gymnastics (Trampoline)

As if flying high professionally on trampolines is not enough, the Jersey Shore resident lists skydiving as a hobby! Read more about Steven Gluckstein in his bio.

Irvington, NJ

Sport: Swimming (Men’s 50m Freestyle, Men’s 100m Freestyle, Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay)

When he was just 5 years old, Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones suffered a near-drowning experience at a water park after being trapped underwater on a tubing ride and swallowing a pint of water. Thankfully, Cullen regained consciousness after his father pulled him out of the water and lifeguards performed CPR. Unaware of the severity of what happened, Cullen was eager to continue riding at the water park just moments later. Read more about Cullen Jones in his bio.

Cinnamonson, NJ

Sport: Rowing (Men’s Eight)

Steve Kasprzyk is in impeccable shape…even for an Olympian. Somehow, the Cinnamonson native finds time to run marathons. In fact, Steve enjoys running and he marks the 2004 Philadelphia Marathon as his most memorable sports achievement. Read more about Steve Kasprzyk in his bio.

Englewood Cliffs, NJ

Sport: Tennis

As a young child, Christina McHale spent five years living in Hong Kong. It wasn’t until she was 8 years old that the family made the decision to move to her hometown of Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Read more about Christina McHale in her bio.

East Brunswick, NJ

Sport: Soccer

East Brunswick High School’s Heather O’Reilly mapped out her destiny at a young age. In 2002, she made her debut on the US National Team while she was still in high school! Read more about Heather O’Reilly in her bio.

Somerset, NJ

Sport: Track & Field (Men’s 110m hurdles)

Another Olympian with athletic family ties, both Jeff Porter and his brother Joe were star track members and football players at Franklin High School. After excelling at Rutgers, Joe Porter played two seasons as a cornerback for the NFL’s Green Bay Packers. Read more about Jeff Porter in his bio.

Point Pleasant, NJ

Sport: Soccer

Christie Rampone is a proud Jersey Shore native and one of Monmouth University’s best athletes of all time. She’s also a mom. In fact, Christie is the only US Women’s Soccer team member with children. Read more about Christie Rampone in her bio.

Plainsboro, NJ

Sport: Swimming (Women’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay, Women’s 100m Breaststroke, Women’s 200m Breaststroke, Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay)

In an interview, Rebecca Soni revealed that as part of her strict Hungarian upbringing, she never went out to eat at restaurants and she never watched TV. Actually, there wasn’t a single television in her Plainsboro home during Rebecca’s childhood. Read more about Rebecca Soni in her bio.

Do you have a local connection to one of the 2012 New Jersey Olympians? Perhaps you or someone you know went to the same college, high school or maybe you grew up with one of the athletes. Tell us in the comments below!


Get the full list of 2012 Olympians from New Jersey here.