Postcard From Summer Sanders at the Olympic Games

August 06, 2012

Filed Under: Family, London, Sports
Photography by Getty
London, England

At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Summer Sanders emerged as the most decorated US swimmer, winning 4 medals: 2 gold, a silver and a bronze. After retiring from swimming, Sanders pursued a career in television. Since 1997, Sanders has appeared on a plethora of programs and is currently covering the Olympic Games for Yahoo! Sports. Upon returning from London, Sanders will become a host for the new Pac-12 Network. She is also the author of Champions are Raised, Not Born. Sanders married Olympian and former U.S. Ski Team Alpine racer Erik Schlopy and has 2 children, Skye and Spider. You can follow Sanders on Twitter, via Facebook and through her official website.

I came here to: Do a few things. On July 10th, I came over to run the Olympic torch. Then I toured the UK with my family, and finally to cover the Olympic Games as an analyst for Yahoo! Sports. 

I’m staying at: The Radisson Edwardian Grafton in central London. Since my family is with me and we’re here for almost a month, we decided to upgrade from the traditional room to a suite so the kids have room to run around and so we could have an area to enjoy together and have snacks. The thing I’ll remember most is that the staff at the Radisson all know my son’s name because they couldn’t get over the little American boy running around with all this energy. It’s also only about 30 steps to a convenient tube station. 

When it comes to packing, be sure to bring: Light layers and rain boots are the key to packing for London. The temperature can change quickly with the rain, so you have to be prepared to take things off and put them on. Scarves are a wonderful accessory. I grew up in Northern California, so I thought I was a pro at layering, but it’s nothing like London. Also, a water-repellant handbag or backpack can be very helpful. 

The best thing I’ve eaten so far: There might not be anything better than high tea and clotted cream. Heaven. 

Don't miss: Touring London in the classic double-decker red bus. It’s a great way to take in all the sites and get great photos. Also, the London Eye -- its view of this city is breathtaking. 

Next time I will definitely: Take in the changing of the guard. During the Olympic Games, the guard at Buckingham Palace isn’t doing their normal, daily 11:30 change. So I will definitely have to visit the Palace again to take in that spectacular scene. 

My favorite part of the trip has been: Individually, seeing the Opening Ceremonies. As a mom, watching my kids’ faces light up when they watch their favorite Olympic athletes, and specifically getting the call from my daughter after the gymnastics final saying, “Mommy, I want to be an Olympic gymnast.” 

The best event I’ve attended so far has been: Day 6 of swimming, when Michael Phelps earned his 20th medal and Rebecca Soni broke the World Record in the 200 breaststroke. 

The most striking difference between the London and Barcelona Games is: Almost everything, really. Our venue was outdoors. NBC showed the events live on 3 channels as part of a pay-per-view triple cast. And hugely, there was no internet or social media. 

The person I was the most star-struck to meet is: Oh my gosh, David Beckham! He walked into the “Let’s Move” event, and I almost had to catch my breath for a second.

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