Summer Sanders loves living an imperfect life and the balancing act of athletics, carpool, and being in front of the camera. Mom to Skye (7) and Spider (5), this 1992 Olympic Champion says motherhood is her biggest accomplishment. Known for her roles as host and co-host of shows such as “NBA Inside Stuff” and Nickelodeon’s “Figure It Out”, she is currently filming new projects with her production company Black Line Media. Sanders is also a health and fitness advocate, producing articles, tips and workouts for various magazines; she is an active Right to Play Ambassador.
In her two years at Stanford University, Sanders compiled six individual NCAA titles and four relay championships, earned back-to-back NCAA Swimmer of the Year awards, and propelled Stanford to the 1992 National Championship. At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Sanders emerged as the most decorated U.S. swimmer, winning four medals – two gold, a silver, and a bronze.
Following retirement from swimming, Sanders pursued a career in television. From 1997 to 2005, Sanders appeared on a plethora of programs as correspondent, co-host, and host. Highlights include eight years co-hosting “NBA Inside Stuff”, becoming the first female game-show host on Nickelodeon at “Figure It Out”, acting as an Olympic analyst and host for NBC during the 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2010 Olympic Games, being a Today Show special contributor from 2000-2004, and hosting Fox’s hit sports show “The Sports List”. Sanders also worked as a sideline reporter for the NBA, WNBA, and US Open.
Sanders took a brief hiatus from TV to focus on life at home. She married Olympian and former U.S. Ski Team Alpine racer Erik Schlopy and has two children, Skye and Spider. Since her returned to TV in 2009, she has worked as a correspondent for Good Morning America, The Rachael Ray Show, and NBC’s Universal Sports Network. She hosted Yahoo! Sports award winning web series Elite Athlete Workout and their 2012 Olympic Games swimming coverage.
She is also the author of “Champions are Raised not Born.”
By age three, Sanders could swim a lap of the pool. She wanted to be just like her older brother Trevor, so in 1976 she joined the Sugar Bears – an age-group swimming program in Roseville, California, coached by Mike Barsotti, Scott Winter and Scott O’Conner. From there she jumped to the Sierra Aquatic Club with coach Ralph Thomas and finally to CCA where coach Mike Hastings became her greatest influence as a coach.
In 1988, she made waves at the U.S. Olympic Trials, narrowly missing the Olympic Team at age 15 in the 400m IM, finishing third. Then in 1989 at her first international meet, she earned a silver medal in the 200m I.M. behind Lin Li of China at the Pan Pacific Championships.
In 1991 as a freshman at Stanford University swimming for Hall of Fame coach Richard Quick, Sanders won the 200y butterfly, 200y IM and 400 IM and the 4×100 medley relay. And she repeated her championship swims in 1992, the last year she swam collegiately for Stanford, helping her team win the NCAA National Championships. She won back-to-back NCAA Swimmer of the Year awards and a total of nine NCAA National Championship titles during her two years of competition.
At the 1991 World Championships, Summer won a silver medal in the 200m IM and a bronze medal in the 400m IM, behind Lin Li of China. And gold in the 200m butterfly.
Winning four medals at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Summer was the most decorate swimmer of the Games. She won gold in the 200m FLY with an Olympic record time of 2:08.67, a silver in the 200m IM, and a bronze in the 400m IM. She brought home a second gold medal as a member of the 4x100m medley relay. In qualifying for the Olympic Games, Summer was the first U.S. woman since Hall of Famer Shirley Babashoff in 1976 to qualify for four individual events at one Olympiad.
Summer swam for another year following the Games, then officially retired in 1994. She attempted a returned to make the 1996 Olympic Team, but was unsuccessful. During her career she won eight U.S. National Championships.