For most of us who were kids in the ‘90s, our bucket list was pretty much a one-item to-do list: Be featured on literally any Nickelodeon show. Perhaps at the top of the list (for me, at least) was Figure It Out! I mean, it was literally any child’s dream come true; you got to showcase the kind of talents that pretty much only your parents would find interesting all while getting to interact with your favorite All That stars. And — to top it all off — you got to interact with the coolest game show host (no disrespect to Alex Trebek), Summer Sanders.
What many ‘90s kids (again, myself included) may not have realized is that Summer had a pretty impressive resume before she ever stepped foot in Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, FL (aka the holy land). Before she tried her hand at hosting children-themed game shows, the 45-year-old took home four Olympic gold medals for swimming for Team USA at the 1992 games in Barcelona. So it’s no surprise that — even long after we said farewell to Figure It Out — Summer has kept on winning! Curious what she’s up to today? Keep reading to find out — but be careful not to say the secret phrase, or you may get slimed!
Summer’s most impressive feat to date? Being a mom!
You may not be surprised to learn that Summer married another athlete — Erik Schlopy, an alpine ski racer who competed at the 2006 Olympics. The two are parents to two kids, 11-year-old daughter Skye and nine-year-old son Spider who are successful athletes in their own right! Earlier this month, they were named to the Team U.S.A. Ski Team! Go, Skye and Spider!
Figure It Out wasn’t her only stint hosting a game show!
In 2015, she was named the host of HLN’s first game show, called Keywords. The trivia-themed game originated as an app, but later took on a life of its own as a show.
She doesn’t just host game shows — she competes on them, too!
Ok, she may not be a “game show” participant, but she has certainly tried her hand at the “competitive reality show” category! In 2010, she competed on the third season of Celebrity Apprentice, where she rubbed shoulders with our current president and two years later in 2012, she joined the first season of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, on which she competed on Rachael Ray’s team. She was also on Skating With Celebrities way back in the day.
Summer on Skating With Celebrities.
She’s still as charitable as ever.
On both Celebrity Apprentice and Celebrity Cook-Off, Summer competed for a charity called Right To Play, which was started by her fellow Olympic Athletes in hopes of providing kids in need with access to educational games. All these years later, she is still involved with Right to play — and countless other charities — and often advocates giving back.
She penned a personal essay for Medium in honor of Giving Tuesday, and wrote, “Giving back in whatever manner you can, with time or resources, is such a valuable thing.” She shared some of her favorite organizations, and encouraged her followers to donate if they could or find their own cause that means a lot to them. “In the end, find a cause that means soemthing to you. Donate when you can — no matter the amount — every little bit helps,” she wrote. “And if you don’t have the financial means, donate your tim. Organizations are always open. You can be part of the change you want to see if you get involved.”
If Summer played a part in your life (even through the TV screen), take comfort in knowing you played a part in hers.
Let’s be real: I probably wouldn’t be writing this — and you probably wouldn’t be reading this — if we weren’t both desperately clinging to the nostalgia of our youth. While I like to think Summer played a nice little role in my life by setting off a secret love for game shows (please don’t judge me, or my daily DVR taping of Jeopardy), it’s kind of cool to know that I —we — played a nice part in Summer’s life as well.
Summer posted a list of things to be thankful for in honor of this year’s Thanksgiving, and included some sweet and personal items — like her family, her “oddities,” and the finish line — but was sure to include that she’s grateful for “the awesome generation that [watched] Figure It Out.”
We’re grateful for you, too, Summer! And if you happen to see Billy the Answer Head anytime soon, please send him my regards!!
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