Today (August 5), the Olympic Games officially kick off in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Former Nickelodeon star Summer Sanders, who hosted the hit game show Figure It Out from 1997 to 2000, will be there to celebrate. Just five years before starting on Nick, she swam and slayed at the 1992 games in Barcelona, Spain.
Sanders took home four medals total, all for various swimming events: two gold, one silver, and one bronze. Casual. It was the summer between her sophomore and junior years at Stanford University, and she was only 19 at the time. Three years later, she retired from the sport and pursued a career in entertainment.
“For as long as I wanted to swim in the Olympics, I knew I wanted to work in TV,” Sanders told MTV News over the phone. “I was very scared but excited and knew I needed to jump in with both feet. So I did. I was still going to school at Stanford, but I was auditioning for things and taking basically every job that came my way.”
Now she’s an accomplished TV host, actress, author, wife, and mom of two kids — in addition to being an elite athlete, of course. Here she is getting her slime on in Figure It Out. [Note: Nickelodeon and MTV News are both owned by Viacom.]
“It was a smooth transition because my heart was in it, and I knew I loved it. I wasn’t perfect at it by any means,” Sanders continued. “I’ve had failures in swimming. You learn and you get better and hopefully you don’t do that the next time — you do it a different way. That’s the way I approached my television career as well.”
Clearly Sanders knows what she’s doing, in and out of the pool.