During May Is Sports Moms month, MomsTEAM's Brooke de Lench caught up with four-time Olympic swimming medalist turned Olympic television analyst, Summer Sanders, at her Park City, Utah home.
Sanders exploded onto the swimming scene during her years as a Stanford University student before winning two golds, a silver and a bronze at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Now a mother of a son and daughter, she has taken her knowledge of the sport outside the pool as a commentator for NBC's Olympic coverage and will be covering the London 2012 Games for a new outlet as well.
Sanders and de Lench spoke about all sorts of things, including their love of Vermont. But what de Lench was most interested in was her upbringing and how she is raising her own kids in today's hyper-competitive world of youth sports. Here is some of what she told de Lench, including the importance of eating a great breakfast.
de Lench: Before we begin I really need to ask you about your son's middle name, Spider. I have only known one person with the name: Spider Sabich. You may have heard of him; he was a member of the U.S. Ski Team in the late 1960s and competed at the 1968 Winter Olympics and was the pro ski racing champion in 1971 and 1972.
Sanders: Oh, my gosh! My husband Erik Schlopy, a World Cup skier who competed in three Olympics (1994, 2002, and 2006), loved him and wanted to name our son after him. Very cool.
de Lench: Were you an athlete and what sports did you play as a youth or older?
Sanders: I was into swimming. As a young kid I always wanted to be in the pool. We had a back yard swimming pool, and I was four when I joined my first swim team. I was terrified at the start of my first race, but it was my mom who encouraged me. She simply pointed out that if I swam, would "reach the end." After I jumped in and made it all the way to the end of the pool, I was hooked. I became addicted to that feeling and I never looked back.
de Lench: What is the most rewarding aspect of being a sports mom?
Sanders: Watching my children discover sports, like skiing, for the first time, and the enjoyment they find; the pure enjoyment of having fun. I want them to find a sport they will dream about, like I did, dreaming of swimming in the Olympics.
de Lench: What is the most important lesson your child is learning from his/her sport?
Sanders: That it will be their sport not mine, not their dad's; it is theirs. They need to really want to do it and own it without us pushing them into swimming or skiing. Let them find something that works for them.
de Lench: What is the most important tip for making sure your day and your active kids' day gets off to a good start?
Sanders: I am a big proponent of breakfast, never skipping the morning meal. It is a natural that Kellogg's continues to support my message, and me theirs. Eating a good breakfast is really like the rocket fuel that is needed to push through the day. I also enjoy eating breakfast food throughout the day and snack on cereal often. My favorite Kellogg's® products include Special K® Red Berries and Special K® Oats & Honey cereals.
Summer Sanders is a mother of two, and the author of Champions Are Raised, Not Born: How My Parents Made Me a Success. She was the most decorated U.S. Olympic swimmer in 1992, winning two gold medals, one silver, and one bronze at the Olympic Games in Barcelona in women's 200-meter butterfly, women's 4 x 100 meter medley, women's 200-meter individual medley and women's 400-meter individual medley respectively. A three-time gold medal winner at the 1990 Goodwill Games, Summer earned back-to-back NCAA Swimmer of the Year awards in 1991 and 1992 as a freshman and sophomore at Stanford - her only two years of collegiate competition - where she amassed six individual NCAA titles and four relay championships and led the Cardinal to the 1992 National Championship. She is a Member of U.S. Swimming Hall of Fame, Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame and Stanford Hall of Fame.
Summer is a correspondent for NBC's Olympics coverage, The Today Show, and Rachel Ray, and has hosted FOX Sports Net's The List, NBA Inside Stuff, and Nickelodeon's Figure it Out, was named Special Ambassador for Sports for UNICEF, and serves on the national advisory board of the Positive Coaching Alliance. You can follow Summer on Twitter (@SummerSanders_), Like her on Facebook, and by visiting her website.