Two-time Olympic gold medalist speaks at Sac State

Two-time+Olympic+gold+medalist+Summer+Sanders%2C+left%2C+talks+with+parents+of+young+female+athletes+Thursday+at+the+Sac+State+Alumni+Center.+%28Photo+by+Alec+Romero%29
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Two-time Olympic gold medalist speaks at Sac State

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Summer Sanders, left, talks with parents of young female athletes Thursday at the Sac State Alumni Center. (Photo by Alec Romero)

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Summer Sanders, left, talks with parents of young female athletes Thursday at the Sac State Alumni Center. (Photo by Alec Romero)

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Summer Sanders, left, talks with parents of young female athletes Thursday at the Sac State Alumni Center. (Photo by Alec Romero)

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Summer Sanders, left, talks with parents of young female athletes Thursday at the Sac State Alumni Center. (Photo by Alec Romero)

Alec Romero

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Sacramento State played host to a swimming champion Thursday night as a two-time Olympic gold medalist visited campus for a panel discussion.

Summer Sanders, who was a member of the U.S. team for the 1992 Summer Olympics, is an advisory board member of the Positive Coaching Alliance. The PCA is a national non-profit organization founded by Jim Thompson in 1998 through the Stanford University Athletics Department.

The organization which features former athletes such as Shane Battier, Steve Kerr and Barry Zito encourages athletes and coaches to honor the game they play rather than a win-at-all-costs mindset.

“I was really lucky,” Sanders said. “I had great coaches growing up but I also saw the impact of coaching that wasn’t as positive on my friends.”

The Sacramento chapter of PCA organized a seminar titled Girls in the Game at the Sac State Alumni Center, which included a panel discussion between Sanders, sports psychologist Kathy Toon and Heathy Moody a silver medal winner on the U.S. water polo team in the 2000 Summer Olympics.

In attendance were parents of the community with their daughters, many of whom were young female athletes who learned about the benefits of staying involved in sports from an early age.

The seminar educated the female athletes on what the world of sports was like for women before Title IX was passed in 1972.

“It’s an honor for me to be asked to represent this organization,” Moody said. “It was encouraging and exciting to see so many girls here listening, learning and growing.”

The moderator of the discussions between the crowd and the panel was PCA Chief Impact Officer Tina Syer who has been with the organization for 17 years.

“In 1971, for every one girl playing high school sports, there were 12-and-a-half boys playing and only one percent of college athletic budgets were going to women’s sports,” Syer said.

As a panelist member, Sanders spoke about overcoming fear and encouraging young female athletes to have the courage to stand up for themselves as “girls being in the game.”

“When they hit middle school and the girls’ recreational sports fall off a year or two before high school, where do they go? They take a step back,” Sanders said.

Sanders is a native of Roseville where she attended Oakmont High School. As a freshman on the swimming team, she nearly qualified for the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.

In 1991, she enrolled at Stanford and the following spring she was a member of the 1992 NCAA National Championship swimming team.

That summer she was on the U.S. swimming team at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain — where she won gold medals in the 200-meter butterfly and the 400 medley relay.

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