Just over twenty years ago, Summer Sanders made swimming history at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, winning four medals, including two gold. Keeping up with her active lifestyle, the Olympic champion is currently hosting and participating in the Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival Weekend.
The busy mom-of-two opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her children – daughter Skye, 7, and son Spider, 5 – and their favorite sports and activities. She goes on to talk about staying fit, tips for busy moms who want to get into shape, and her recent experience at the Boston Marathon that left her “terrified and emotional.”
CBS: You’re running in the Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival Weekend (October 18-20). Tell us more about the event.
SS: “The event, taking place in Bethlehem, Pa., is a celebration of running. There will be seminars, music, films, kids activities and races — a 5K and 10K on Saturday, and a half marathon on Sunday. My entire Schlopy clan will be doing the 5K! All the details can be found at Runner’s World.”
CBS: As a host also at the festival, what can participants expect? Will your family be there too?
SS: “Everyone should expect a fun-filled weekend to celebrate every level of running. Although there will be many races and lots of the fun is focused on the race, there will also be many fun activities for the whole family – films, music, a children’s competitive mile. I am thrilled that my family will be there with me. We get to see my husband’s family in Landsdale, Pa., prior, and then cruise into Bethlehem for some running fun.”
CBS: Tell us about your children Skye and Spider. What are their ages and how did you come up with their names? What are they into?
SS: “Skye is 7 and Spider is 5. Skye’s name came from my mom’s creative mind. We were thinking of short beautiful S names and Skye came out of her mouth. I knew right away that was her name. Another friend later said, “How about Skye Bella!” Her name is almost as beautiful as she is (proud mama moment).
Spider’s name is a long one — Charles (from my grandpa) Robert (from my dad) and Spider (from ski racer Spider Sabich). His name definitely fits him, and nobody forgets him either. The name sticks.
Skye loves gymnastics, and she just started swim team. If she could, she would also play tennis, but there is only so much time in the day/week. She did that during the summer. Spider loves karate, plays a little soccer, and is super stoked to start tennis again. He tries everything.”
CBS: Does your family go on runs with you?
SS: “It’s funny, if you ask my son, he says yes. And he does, but he rides his bike. We went 6 miles the other day and when we got done, he told anyone who would listen. He was quite proud. My daughter loves to run and used to go out for her ‘runs’ by herself. She made sure we weren’t behind her. She would go around our block, which is about 1/2 mile. We often sneak out and watched her run about 3 miles. It’s so cute.”
CBS: Any tips on getting kids on a healthy track to being active?
SS: “Lead by example. My kids see me sweat and are so curious about it. They now know that when they are sweating, they are exercising, and that is good for their heart. Kids listen, even to the good stuff you say. And encourage your kids to TRY sports. You don’t have to be the best to reap the benefits. Give them the confidence to try.”
CBS: Any tips for busy moms who want to stay in shape?
SS: “Take your gym/workout bag with you. You never know when you can fit a workout ‘into the cracks’ of your day. Keep your bag on hand, and don’t be too afraid of the after shower if you don’t have access. A little ‘spit shine,’ as my dad calls it, will do to get you to the end of the day.
And even better, make time by putting your workout into your calendar. If you are like me, if it isn’t in your calendar, you will forget it. So make your health a priority and schedule it.”
CBS: You finished the Boston Marathon this year. Can you share what it was like that tragic day?
SS: “It’s tough to answer this question in a tiny paragraph. The day started off magical and was almost perfect until the event, when it became horrible and tragic. When I think of that day now, I try to remember of all the love, kindness and courage shown between strangers. It started at the beginning of the race, when I saw a family literally open their home to all the runners for everything from a bathroom to sunscreen. Throughout the race I felt like every town was giving me a giant hug with all the snacks and encouragement they offered. And then, when tragedy struck and I was so scared, truly terrified and emotional… that was when pure courage and heroism was shown. My mom, two friends and I were in lockdown, then emergency evacuated and somehow we got to the airport and made it home to our families. The word grateful takes on a whole new meaning.”
CBS: What inspired you to produce and host your video series “Find Your Fitness” for MSN Healthy Living?
SS: “I consider myself in pretty good shape, but there came a point when I couldn’t help my husband lift a ice chest, literally. I couldn’t do it, and that made me mad. He had to find someone else. As I had turned 40 almost a year ago, I couldn’t help but think, ‘Yes, I can run 26.2, but am I fit?’ The answer was NO. So I went on a quest to ‘Find My Fitness’ along with our viewers. I was genuinely curious about all the fitness trends we tried, and am so very proud of our series.”
CBS: After you retired from swimming, was it a natural progression to step into television?
SS: “For as long as dreamed of swimming in the Olympics, I dreamed of being on TV. My best girlfriend and I would tape ourselves acting out Kate and Ally shows. And when I say ‘tape,’ I mean on a tape recorder. We didn’t own a video camera, nobody did, so we would just record funny bits. She went on to UCLA and Hollywood, and I went to Stanford and NYC.”
CBS: Have your children told you what they would like to be when they grow up?
SS: “My daughter just told us that she wants to be a vet. She loves animals. My son is a bit more undecided about his future. Right now he says he wants to be a Sensei.”
CBS: How did you meet your husband Eric?
SS: “Erik and I met on a blind date. It was my first blind date, and my last. He was in NYC for a ski team fundraiser, and I was living there, so our mutual friend set us up. It was giggle love in the first 20 minutes.”
CBS: We’ll assume you cook very healthy meals for your family. Can you share a couple of recipe ideas?
SS: “I have a great guacamole recipe. Yay for healthy fats! I’m a Cali girl, and I was raised eating avocados by themselves (I love my avocados). Ingredients: Several ripe avocados, a 1/4 red pepper chopped fine, 1/8th of a red onion chopped fine, a dollup of sour cream, a few tablespoons of salsa, a squeeze of lime juice and LOTS of garlic salt. To make, simply smash and mix it all together. I love the crunch of the pepper and onion. Don’t put all the salt in at once, and remember your chips will have salt so don’t overload it.
If you want homemade tortilla chips…those are easy as well. Grab the huge bag of corn tortillas and take one at a time brushing olive oil on each side. Once you get a good stack, cut them in 1/4′s lay them out on an ungreased cookie sheet, salt them and slip them in the oven at 400 degrees for 11 minutes (note that each oven is a little different). You want them to turn golden brown. Repeat until the bag is gone or the bowl is full and enjoy!”
CBS: What are your plans for the school year? Any future projects coming up?
SS: “I am just getting to take a breath from the busy summer of MSN and espnW. But I am excited about new projects in the works. I am writing a weekly blog for Babble called “My Semi-chlorinated Life” which is about, quite simply, my imperfect world.
I will be running the NYC marathon and I just signed up for Boston 2014, which should be extremely special. I will also be continuing my role with the Rethink Varicose Veins Campaign, helping my fellow VV’ers get informed, seek treatment, and get healthy.”View Slideshow »»