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Summer Sanders

Tried To Make Olympic Team Again

In April 1995, Sanders decided to return to swimming and began training for the 1996 Olympic Games. She had been accepted to the United States Swimming Resident National Team based in Colorado, and felt she needed to begin training again. She told the Omaha World-Herald, "I could just fall flat on my face. But I think either way you gain something from it. It'll be a lifelong lesson."

Awards and Accomplishments

1989 Won 200-yard butterfly at the U.S. Short Course Championships
1990 Won 200-yard butterfly and 400-yard individual medley at the U.S. Short Course Championships; won 200-meter individual medley at the U.S. Long Course National Championships; won three gold medals at the Goodwill Games, in the 200- and 400-meter individual medleys and the 200-meter butterfly
1991 Set National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) records in 200-yard butterfly and 400-yard individual medley; set American record in 200-yard individual medley; won 200-meter butterfly at the World Championships as well as a silver and bronze
1991-92 Named NCAA swimmer of the year
1992 Set U.S. record in 200 butterfly; set NCAA record in 400-yard medley at Olympic Games, won gold medals in 200-meter butterfly and 400-meter medley relay, silver medal in 200-meter individual medley, and bronze in the 400-meter individual medley
2002 Inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame

Where Is She Now?

After retiring from swimming for a second time, Sanders pursued her career in broadcast television in earnest. In the late 1990s, she hosted a game show for Nickelodeon, Figure It Out. Beginning in 1997, she was hired to cover the National Basketball Association (NBA) as co-host for the show NBA Inside Stuff. She also provided coverage of the NBA and the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), and was a sideline reporter for the WNBA on NBC (National Broadcasting Company). Sanders remained connected to the Olympics, when she co-hosted Scholastics at the Olympic Games, which aired on MSNBC and served as a special correspondent for the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia. She was also a correspondent for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games for NBC. Sanders married Mark Henderson on July 5, 1997, in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

At first, training was hard for Sanders; she could not keep up with the other swimmers. She had her own lane so that she could swim against herself, and gradually build up to swimming with the group. Coach Jonty Skinner pushed her, and she qualified for the 1995 Pan Pacific Championships. Her goal remained the 1996 Olympics, but at the Olympic trials she did not make the team, although she competed in three events. Sanders's competition was younger and hungrier than she was, and her lack of training had hurt her. Sanders retired from swimming permanently.

At the 1996 Olympic Games, in Atlanta, Georgia, Sanders was a commentator for NBC. After she failed at the Olympic trials, she told Hank Lowenkron of Associated Press, "Obviously I'm disappointed because you don't like your last race to be eighth place, but I'm looking beyond that. I have a new appreciation for swimming.… It took this for me to really realize and look back and remember when I won that gold medal and how special it is."

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsSwimmingSummer Sanders Biography - Began Swimming, Breakthrough At Olympic Trials, Chronology, Swam For Stanford, Shined At The Olympics - CONTACT INFORMATION, SELECTED WRITINGS BY SANDERS: