Olympic Mom

Celebrity Apprentice contestant and Olympian gold medal swimmer Summer Sanders dishes on everything from her charity (Right to Play)to parenting tips on raising future Olympians to celebrity sports role models and, of course, how she gets those amazing arms!

Summer Sanders wears many hats. Not only is she a mom to 2 children, daughter Skye and son Charlie "Spider," but she is an Olympic gold medal swimmer, former host of ESPN's Inside Stuff, first female host of Nickelodeon's game show Figure It Out and correspondent on the Today Show and Rachel Ray show. She is now appearing in the 3rd season of Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice, competing with stars like Sharon Osbourne, Cyndi Lauper (pictured, above with Summer) and Bret Michaels who are all raising money for their charities. Summer's charity, Right to Play, is one she holds close to her heart. "I did it for my charity. I'm not good at confrontation. Dealing with people who are angry or upset or nasty," she reveals. "I don't have enough energy."

SheKnows: What drives your passion for your charity, Right to Play?

Summer Sanders: I have been with Right to Play for 15 years. On paper, we provide aid to developing countries and children affected by war. Through sports, we teach kids who have experienced terrible atrocities how to be outstanding members of their community and we teach communities how to be outstanding members. We teach kids how to be kids. You'd be surprised how it affects a child, in Africa, for example, when you put a ball in front of them and see a smile on their face because they get to play. It is overwhelming and such an honor to be part of such a great organization.

SheKnows: When you were team captain on the show, you won your challenge and you got pretty emotional during the board meeting. Did you expect Celebrity Apprentice to bring out these strong emotions in you?

Summer Sanders: At that moment, I felt like I actually achieved what I wanted on the show. I got people's attention and thought that maybe people will get online to find out about the charity. I waited until I could compose myself – without blubbering (laughs) – so people could clearly hear what I was talking about when I said the words, "Right to Play." I mean, if anyone went on these trips and could see these kids in person -- then you would understand why I had to do it.

SheKnows: I'm sure as a mom, you really feel for those kids.

Summer Sanders: As much as the charity is giving kids, being a part of it gives me something back as well. You know, I never felt sorry for any of the children I saw. The condition there, which you can't really describe because there is no example here in the US, and despite that they all had this incredible sense of joy for each other and for life. In Sierra Leone, you would see child soldiers walking with their arms around each other. They didn't know where their parents were or if they are alive – all they know is killing and violence. This gives them another outlet.

Next page: Summer's tips for parents wanting to raise elite athletes

 

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