Summer Sanders
Page 2 Staff

Summer Sanders
We asked 10 Burning Questions to get some "Inside Stuff" on host Summer Sanders.
You know Summer Sanders -- the '92 Olympic swimming sensation (two gold medals, a silver and a bronze) and the real reason you watch NBA's "Inside Stuff." The California girl, Stanford grad and broadcaster has won our hearts poolside, courtside and beyond. Summer is currently the host of ESPN's reality TV series "Beg, Borrow & Deal 2", proving once again that she doesn't need Ahmad to spot her on the set.

We figure you already know Summer's résumé, so we decided to dig up the dirt you don't know. Page 2's Mary Buckheit did her homework, inflated her swimmies and dived in with 10 Burning Questions. She tried to sink Summer with the Playboy poll incident, the Nickelodeon stint, a 1980s obsession and starstruck sketch-ball fans. As usual, Summer stayed afloat, but Mary and her questions refused to eat wake.

1. First of all, I have to ask what's your favorite season?

Are you kidding me?! Oh man. Well, it should be summer, right? But living in New York -- it's actually fall. I run in the park a lot, so with the leaves and the breeze, it's just gorgeous to me. I gotta go with fall. The irony.

2. How much do you swim in a week?

I don't swim at all, anymore.

Never?

Uh-uh. Not because I don't want to, it's just that I'm a big fan of swimming outdoors, and I really don't enjoy indoor pools. It's not really possible to get out there and swim when you live in the city. I still take my swimsuit with me on my travels wherever I go just in case, but I don't really have any real desire to get in an indoor pool and just swim for a workout.

Swimmers are known for having hot bods. Which athletes have the best bodies in sports?
Gabrielle Reece
Summer says Gabby Reece and Co. have the hottest bods going.

For women, I think beach volleyball players. And I don't know, but some of those ice skaters -- they've got those really strong legs and butts, that's just something which is foreign to me because swimming was all upper body, so I envy that. As for men ... I think it's water polo and surfers.

Staying true to water sports, ah?

Yeah, I kinda am aren't I? Well, that's the truth, I'm sticking with those two; they've got great bodies.

3. Did you have the token summer lifeguarding job as a kid?

Ha ha. This is so funny. I worked at this place called Water World; it was a waterslide park. My brother and my dad framed my first paycheck from this place -- which was for $0.00 dollars -- because I didn't even make enough to cover the cost of my uniform!

I had to stand at the top of this slide for eight hours in the sun and say to every single person, "Legs down, elbows in, lean back, go ahead."

Oh man! You were that girl?!

Yeah, I know. ... Now, when I started this job, on my first day I was up there, so energetic -- "Legs down, elbows in, lean back, have a great ride!" And then by the last one that day, I was like, "I don't even care what you do, just don't get hurt, bye," and push 'em down there.

I can't believe you still remember your line. Does it haunt you in your sleep?

No, not anymore that dream stopped last year.

Do you remember your line for your V05 Shampoo commercial?

"I'm in the water seven days a week, great for my body, tough on my hair."

You're sick. Hey do you have to use that stuff for life? Do you have to throw on a ski mask to pick up Herbal Essence?

Nope, I'm not bound to it and it really was great for swimmers. For the record, I'm a Redken girl now. Love it!

4. Give us the inside scoop on Olympic village. Is it like "The Real World"? Fights, hookups, hot tubs, parties. What goes on in there?

Summer Sanders
Dream Teen: Back in '92, Summer was the toast of the Olympics, winning four medals.

Well, swimming was always the first event, which was actually really nice because then we'd have a week and a half there to just party and go to other events and enjoy it all. The first week is certainly not "Real World" -- it's real stressful. You just sit around, do nothing, get nervous, compete. But then, one-by-one, as people start finishing there's a whole different vibe in there. Then the fun begins.

Swimmers are known to go out and party and hook up. In Barcelona we'd just be starting our appetizers at 11 p.m. and people weren't getting home until six in the morning. So, as much as athletes focus and train hard, they play hard, too. It gets crazy in there.

What did you do with all those gold medals?

I've had a lot of recommendations, actually. A belt buckle, some dangly earrings, but I've decided to hold off on all that. I don't even have a fancy display case for them or anything, they're just kinda there.

Where? On a marble bust in your garage?

No, they just sit in my sock drawer. Every now and then when I'm searching through looking for matching socks, I'll just, you know, run into 'em.

"There's a gold medal in my argyle!" Geez. Must be nice!

Yeah, I should probably organize a little bit.

5. When you were winning those medals in '92 alongside the original Dream Team -- did you have any idea you'd work so closely with the NBA someday?

True story. Before the Games began, NBC asked me if I would do an interview with them if I won a gold medal. I said yes, but me being funny, I said that I would only do it if they gave me four tickets to the gold-medal basketball game. I was a die-hard, obsessed fan of Michael Jordan. I'd take his posters with me to away meets, I'd walk out on the deck in my Air Jordans before I swam, I'd write 23 on my cap. I'm just a huge Jordan fan. And of course I was crazy about Magic and Larry and everybody else. Now, what I think is kinda funny is that while I was at the Games, I actually went up to Ahmad Rashad and introduced myself and just said, "Hi, I'm Summer, I'm a big fan," whatever, something like that, but it's kinda creepy that here I am now, working beside him.

Speaking of Ahmad, I gotta know -- what do you think of that earring?

Ha ha! You know, I'm a fan of jewelry on men, and he's a good-looking guy and that's his little signature.

The Lake Show now with Malone and Payton: are they the team to beat?

It seems as if they're invincible with all those guys, but then again, if you look at the Trail Blazers, when they stacked their team with so much talent, we all thought they were going to be unstoppable, but look at them. Besides, I'm from Sacramento, so I have to keep it real and say that the Kings are going to be tough. All things go through Sac-town, baby!

You also cover the WNBA. How do you think the sport can improve its popularity? Should the players exploit their sexy side?

I think that a player has a very personal decision to make. If they have a desire to take advantage of their beauty -- like, look at Lisa Leslie, she is a very sexy woman. She likes to dress up, she likes to be put together, she is comfortable in that role. That is who she is. She is also very intelligent ... and she also happens to be the No. 1 player in the WNBA. She is the total package, and she chooses to portray every aspect of her character. She is certainly not just dressing nice in hopes that she can score that big shoe deal.

This is the unique thing about the WNBA. Every player does what they want, they show style and they show class by choosing to be who they are, no matter what that is. They have to act on what they are comfortable with. They are true to themselves, and they are amazing athletes. That is a sign that the WNBA will gain in viewership and that fans will attach to these players because they know them to be real people.

6. You were recently featured on Playboy.com, how did you feel about that?

Yeah, they took this poll as to which female sportscasters they would want to see pose in Playboy. It's sort of funny. I got a kick out of it, then just shrug it off, I certainly didn't take it seriously.

Would you ever pose?

No. They asked me, and I said no. But I don't judge people who do. I think women are absolutely amazing and are so beautiful. If you chose to do something like that and that's how you want to do it and you want to make some money, I say fine. I honestly don't make too much of it either way, I don't think, "Oh boy, women's sports and women's sportscasters have worked so hard to get here, then we take a step back." I don't think a poll like that is going to diminish the hard work and contributions of Lisa Leslie or Mia Hamm or Donna de Varona.

What's the craziest thing a guy fan has ever done?

Summer Sanders
Summer shows no ill effects of her lack of swimming these days.

I don't know ... I signed some guy's chest the other day.

Recently?!

Yep, just the other day. Back in my hometown. Yeah, that's funny, huh? ... Hmm, Let me think ... I had this one guy who drove like six hours to see me swim this one event, and he wanted to say hello, and and he wanted to talk after, and he said that I saved his life.

Hmm. I'm not sure if that's flattering or totally sketchy?

Good question. I find that, part of that is strange, but also it's somewhat cool that you can have an effect on people you don't even know. It's flattering, and it's scary at the same time. You want to meet these sincere people and spend some time with them, but at the same time I'm like, "OK, where's the nearest exit?"

7. You're currently hosting "Beg, Borrow & Deal 2." What's the toughest task?

I don't even know. But I personally think the swimming task is really hard! Swim a 200 individual medley under four minutes -- that's not easy!

Could you do that, Ms. I Don't Swim Anymore?

Yeah, of course I could do it. But I've swam for 21 years, c'mon!

Do you watch any other reality TV show?

I watch all of them. ... Me and my husband have this wonderful little thing called TiVo, so we dabble in all of them. We have mastered "American Idol" and "The Bachelorette" in a five-minute window. But TV in general is just totally overloaded with reality. It's a chore trying to find a sitcom these days. But we'll get over it. Trends come and go. I think we'll go back to original drama types one of these days.

Have you ever seen MTV's "Battle of the Sexes" reality competition?

Yup.

If you had to pick three female athletes you'd want on your team, who would you choose?

Lisa Leslie, Mia Hamm, Gail Devers. No question about those three. We couldn't lose.

8. You used to host "Figure It Out" on Nickelodeon, back in the day. Is working for Nick just like working for ESPN?

Figure it Out
"Figure it Out" earned Summer the prestigious upgrade to Nickelodeon's GAS Commissioner.

I loved that show! That is such a great network! It's like a huge celebration of kids and their creativity and imagination. I really enjoyed doing that.

I was on Nick's website and it says you were the "Commissioner of Nickelodeon Games and Sports." What does that job entail?

It's a tough job, Mary, I'm glad you asked. I make sure that all the sports and gaming shows are well represented. GAS -- that's "games and sports" for us insiders -- were in charge of making sure the kids saw all the shows and competitions that they desired.

That's pretty high profile, "Commish."

Yeah, oh yeah, you know ... David Stern ... Buddy Selig ... myself.

Did you watch Nickelodeon when you were a kid?

I don't think we got Nickelodeon. We got like four channels. I watched some serious '80s television. "Alice," "Good Times," "The Jeffersons," "Family Ties," "Cheers" ... every night it was eat dinner, watch Cheers. I was actually on Jeopardy with Rebecca Lobo and Dot Richardson, and we were laughing because I was just nailing every random '80s trivia question -- sitcom, theme music, movie, you name it.

Ooh, I don't think that's something you should be telling everybody.

No, no, I'm fine with that. In fact, I'm pretty proud of it. It's going to get me far in this world, you wait and see; '80s knowledge -- nothing to be ashamed of.

Kirk Cameron
Hmm, we're guessing Summer no longer has a crush on Kirk.

9. What's your most embarrassing '80s moment? Oh man. You ready for this? ... I was a huge "Growing Pains" fan. I actually sent Kirk Cameron a letter professing my love to him and explaining how I really felt and that I promised I could be a good friend to him, and I really understood him and that we could really work. ... I never heard back. Nothing. No response. Completely shot down.

Ouch. My condolences. Did you listen to cheesy '80s music? (I probably just seriously offended some readers)

Well, growing up, I was a little hippie kid. I went to some good concerts ... Amnesty International with Bob Dylan and Tracy Chapman. ... The best concert I ever went to was this one at the Cow Palace my freshman year in college on New Year's Eve. It was Pearl Jam opening for Nirvana opening for Red Hot Chili Peppers. That by far was the best concert combo ever ... but U2 is amazing all by themselves.

What's in your CD player right now?

This guy named Damien Rice. Good stuff. Then I probably have some Fifty Cent and Lil' Kim in there too. I'm so totally all over the place like that.

10. If you could invite any three people to dinner, who would you choose?

You know, at this point in my life, I want to have my family over to dinner. I never get to see them, and if I could just have that more often, I would be happy. So my dad, my mom, my brother ... my sister in-law, my niece and my nephew.

And Kirk Cameron.

Yes! And Kirk. I'd give him a piece of my mind.






ALSO SEE:


10 Burning Questions with Nelly

10 Burning Questions with Bill Bryson

10 Burning Questions with Jennie Finch

10 Burning Questions with Michael Vick

10 Burning Questions with Chris Rock

10 Burning Questions with Mike Bibby

10 Burning Questions with Lisa Guerrero

10 Burning Questions with T.J. Ford

10 Burning Questions with Terrell Owens

10 Burning Questions with Hideki Matsui

10 Burning Questions with Shannon Elizabeth





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