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April 05, 1993 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-04-05

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The Michigan Daily-Sports Monday- April 5,1993 -Page 3

Two-time gold medalist in Barcelona
reflects on the summer of '92

/ .
. ._...

John Niyo

Summer Sanders first entered the
national spotlight in the summer of
1990 at the Goodwill Games follow-
ing her senior year of high school.
She then joined the Stanford wom-
en's swimming team, where she won
six NCAA individual titles and was a
major contributor to the Cardinal's
1992 NCAA championship.
Following her sophomore season
Sanders gave up her collegiate eligi-
bility so she could train longer for
the 1992 Summer Olympics in
Barcelona, as well as get money
from endorsements.
Last summer, as a member of the
Olympic team, Sanders brought
home four medals, including a gold
in the 200-meter butterfly and the
400 medley relay.
Daily Sports Writer Charlie
Breitrose spoke with Sanders re-
cently at the women's NCAA swim-
ming and diving championships in
Minneapolis, where she was doing
commentary for CBS's coverage of
the meet.
Daily: It's been more than a half
a year since your triumph in
Barcelona. What kind of things are
you doing now? Are you making ap-
pearances, doing endorsements?
Sanders: I'm making a few ap-
pearances, but not as many as in the
fall, because I took off school in the
fall. Now I'm swimming, I've been
swimming since October. I'm back
in school. Winter quarter was my
first quarter back (at Stanford). I'm
kind of back to my same old sched-
ule. I try to fit in appearances when I
can, mostly on the weekends.
D: At the Olympics, the televi-
* sion media sort of made your per-
formances sound disappointing, even
though you still won two gold
medals. Did you feel this way?
S: I didn't feel it all that much
when I was there. I kind of didn't get
a feeling of the coverage. I didn't
think the questions were offensive or
anything, just because I'm generally
excited about my races.
D: We're you pleased with your
performance in Barcelona?
S: Yeah, yeah I was. I mean you
always wish you had touched out the
person who got first. I think that's
part of being a competitive person. I
had to look past that, and look at my
times and they're fine, so that's what
D: Do you still keep in touch
with any of your Olympic team-
S: Uh huh. I was really good
friends with the whole team when I
went over there. Janey (Wagstaf)
and Nicole (Haislett) from Florida, I

keep in touch with them. Then the
girls from Stanford, I mean we've
been friends for years. The whole
team, we traveled a lot together.
D: How long do you plan on con-
tinuing your competitive swimming
S: I hopefully can make it
through '96. I'll try and then see
what happens. That's my ultimate
goal right now, but three years is a
long time. I'm not going to put a lot
of pressure on myself.
D: Of all the memories and expe-
rience from the Olympics, and I'm
sure you have a lot, what will you
treasure the most?
S: I think even more than my
races I liked watching everyone else
do well. You know, like Nelson
(Diebel) winning. I think my favorite
race was watching Nicole win her
200 freestyle.
I enjoyed my races, but for some
reason I got more excited watching
them win. Maybe later on in my life
I'll look back and remember how I
felt, but right now it's all just like a
blur to me. I don't remember being

Olympics on a whole. It's just the
top of the world, it's a different
thing. I just think NCAA swimming
is a lot more unpredictable. It can
bring out amazing swims in people
that you just didn't expect it. In the
NCAAs it's a team sport, unlike the
D: The results of the American
women at the Olympics weren't, on
the whole, as good as the national
media had predicted going into the
meet. The Chinese surprised many
and did really well. Do you think the
Americans can catch up to them,
S: Well, I think I should probably
first say that it was only the media
that the Chinese surprised a lot. If
you look at the World Champion-
ships, Pan Pacs (The Pan Pacific
Games) and the Chinese were
winning there. I don't know why
they didn't include that in there. But,
I wouldn't say it's ignorance on the
media's part, but maybe they just
didn't want to include that, because
they wanted the Americans to look

steroids. Do you think there's any-
thing to the rumors?
S: Well, they're rumors, that's
pretty much all I can say. Obviously
they are questioning it, and if they're
questioning it maybe they should do
something about it. But, nobody
knows for sure. So you can't really
pinpoint any names, or anything like
D: During the 1990 Goodwill
Games you sort of burst onto the na-
tional scene. The media really
started to focus a lot of attention on
you. Have you ever felt pressure, or
been overwhelmed by all the atten-
S: I don't think so. I have a lot of
family and friends that keep me on
ground. I deal with it when it's there,
when the media comes I talk to it,
and what not. But when it's gone I
don't really think about it or con-
centrate on it. When I'm competing I
focus all my concentration on what I
want out of it, you know. I think the
only time it really bothered me was
at the Olympics, towards the end. I
just got burnt out mentally, I kind of
felt like I was letting people down,
and things like that. But then that's
when I won a gold medal, so it's
kind of ironic.
D: So it didn't really affect your
performance, all the attention?
S: That's part of the Olympics.
You can't just expect to go in there
and feel no pressure at all. I mean, I
consider the Olympics competition.
The elite athletes have to be able to
deal with that as well as perform
well. That's what it's all about. I
mean there could be somebody
who's faster, who just can't perform
under pressure. Granted, physical
abilities will get you a certain dis-
tance, but the mental aspect of sports
and athletics is a lot more important
once you get to the higher stages.
D: What do you plan to do when
you finish swimming?
S: I don't know, I'm trying this
commentating thing right now. But
I'm not sure if it's something I want
to do. I'm a communications major
at Stanford. And then I'm not sure
what I want to do with that. I don't
know whether I want to go to grad
school with that. Something tells me
that I'm not really-a school person,
so I probably wouldn't want to be in
school any longer than I have to.
But, you know, only time can
tell. I'm kind of like day-to-day
living, I don't like to plan too much.
So I'm spontaneous. I'm just praying
for the day that I wake up and I'll
find what I want to do. That time
hasn't come yet.

Tomorrow has now
arrived for Fab Five
For those of you who are keeping track, tomorrow is today.
This goes back to last year. The philosopher kings - the Fab Five -
kept saying the same thing. Over and over.
"Tomorrow," they said, "is promised to no one."
But yet, after a thrilling 81-78 win over Kentucky, they have lived to
see another day.
I remember talking to Ray Jackson after the title game last year. He
had an awful game against Duke - he spent most of the second half on
the bench - and he didn't feel much like talking. But he quietly
relented and set down his duffel bag.
Jackson was the first one out of the lockerroom, partly because of the
bad game, but mostly because the national media didn't know who he
was. So they crowded around Jalen Rose and a teary-eyed Chris
Webber, and left Ray to amble off down the tunnel and out to the team
He didn't say much, really, but he did offer an answer to one
question as if he had been expecting it all along.
"I hope so," he said, when someone mentioned that the Fab Five
might get a second chance at the national championship. "But, you
know, we wanted to win it now. Because we know that tomorrow, you
know ... I mean ...
And then he just shrugged - his way of finishing the sentence. And
the heads around him nodded. Yes, Ray, we know what you mean.
Tomorrow is promised to no one.
At the time, it was a very sobering thought for those drunk off the
success, and especially for those closest to the group of 19-year-olds
who had just taken the college basketball world by the scruff of the neck
and shaken all the old conventions out.
Five freshman? It can't be done, they were told. Steve Fisher? He's
not a coach, he's a babysitter. No discipline, no poise, no experience, no
class ... no chance. That is what everyone had told Michigan's
youngsters since they started running wind sprints back in October of
They laughed. Said it didn't bother them. Smiled when they heard the
commentators slam them. Smiled when they read the cutting articles.
And then they turned to each other. Huddled together, arms around each
other. Five times one equals victory. That was their motto.
Which is exactly the point. You can try to dissect them individually.
Rose is the flamboyant leader. Webber is the melodramatic
spokesperson. And so on. You can do that, but then you lose sight of
things. They are a family. And to take them apart from each other would
be like divorcing a spouse. Webber without Rose? King without
Howard? It just doesn't work.
They know that. It is the reason that, early last season, they circled
the wagons and shut out the rest of us.
"We just have to look out for ourselves."
Jimmy King told me that last year, a few days before the:Notre Dame
game. That game, of course, now stands as a landmark stop on the Fab
Five's magical mystery tour. The five of them started together for the
first time, thanks largely to some advice Steve Fisher got from his father
the night before. They started, they scored all the team's points, and they
won, something which they would do many more times.
Then they caught fire in the tourney. They beat Temple, coming from
behind. Still, the critics chuckled, saying they wouldn't be able to keep it
up. Then they overpowered East Tennessee State. So what, they were
just lucky that Arizona lost. And when Michigan bounced top-seed Ohio
State, a team that had beaten the Fab Five twice already, the players had
that smug look. The kind that you get when you prove everyone wrong.
"It's been a reality from the beginning," Rose scolded a reporter last
year, the day before the Ohio State game. "Now it's becoming a reality
to you."
They did all that. They said all that. And then they fell flat on their
face - 71-51, against Duke - and everyone laughed and said "Maybe
some other time, guys."
Which brings us to today. Which is tomorrow, incidentally.
Today is the day the Fab Five gets another chance. They get the
chance, after a whole year of waiting, to dance on tables, cut down the
nets, and wag their index finger in every single critic's face.
"They are an over-hyped, underachieving group of doggin', bustin',
yip-yappin' players who lack measures of discipline and
sportsmanship," wrote Jay Mariotti of the Chicago Sun-Times last week.
Bill Walton, another complete schmuck, called them "underachievers."
Tomorrow, maybe, they will be eating those words. Actually, they
probably already are. Back-to-back Final Fours? Underachievers?
Fine. Call them what you will. But make sure to note that what
Webber, Rose, Howard, King, Jackson and their teammates have done
must go down in the history books right alongside the great Duke teams
and the great Kentucky teams and Wooden's UCLA dynasty. And
Webber's name, just to add an ironic twist, goes right alongside that
idiot Walton's.
Especially if tomorrow - which is today - Chris Webber is
wearing a smile on his face instead of tears.
The tears, of course, were a shock last year. To see Chris Webber, the:
same guy with the scowl, in tears was one of the enduring memories

from last year's Final Four. That, and James Voskuil's driving
layup/prayer that fell against Cincinnati, maybe, are the two things I
remember seeing and thinking, 'I will never forget that.' Voskuil's shot,
because I couldn't believe it went in. Webber's tears, I guess, for mostly
the same reasons.
But remembering the tourney now, what stands out most is Jackson.>:
In his Michigan warmups, his headphones around his neck, shaking his
head and talking so fatalistically about losing to Duke. Talking,
basically, like someone who had used up his one and only chance at
fulfilling a lifelong dream.
Seriously. This has to be what they call destiny. Doesn't it?

Summer Sanders, center, stands with fellow Cardinal Olymipans.

on the award stand, there wasn't a
lot of feelings going on there.
D: Do you have any regrets giv-
ing up your eligibility? Do you wish
you could be swimming here (at the
women's NCAA championships)?
S: Yeah, I wish I was swimming,
more than anything. NCAA swim-
ming is the best. It's what every
competitor looks for. There's noth-
ing really deep about it, it's the satis-.
faction of (swimming for) the team.
I don't know. It's just the purest
form of our sport. Other than that
it's, just so exciting. There's nothing
that can compare to it.
D: Is this meet more competitive
than the Olympics?
S: Obviously they're faster at the

It was kind of unfair to us in the
beginning, but you know I think we
were strong enough to not listen to
what the media was saying and con-
centrate on our own goals. And, you
know, we're not stupid, we're not
going to just count a whole country
out. We realized the Chinese were
very good and that they were our
main competition.
We had confidence going in, and
a lot of confidence coming out that
we did the best that we can. If
they're not happy then ... what else
can you do? You know. We just
tried to enjoy it the best that we
D: There were a lot of rumors
that the Chinese women were using

Swoopes' 47 leads Texas Tech to NCAA crown

ATLANTA (AP) - A champi-
onship game record for Sheryl
Swoopes, a championship for her
team. Texas Tech's wondrous year
is complete.
Swoopes showed why she was
the national player of the year,
scoring 47 points to cap a record-
breaking run through the NCAA
tournament and lead Texas Tech to
the women's title with an 84-82
victory Sunday over Ohio State.
It was the most points in an
NCAA championship game by a
man or woman and the second most
in any NCAA game by a woman.
The 6-foot senior also set a
championship game record for
points in one half (23) and
tournament marks for total points

(177 in five games) and free throws
S woopes carried Tech to the
championship in its first Final Four
appearance. The Lady Raiders
finished with 19 straight victories
and a 31-3 record, and broke a 14-
game winning streak for Ohio State
Swoopes obliterated the old
record of 28 points in a women's
title game set by Dena Head of
Tennessee and Dawn Staley of Vir-
ginia in the 1991 finals. The record
in the men's finals was 44 by
UCLA's Bill Walton against
Memphis State in 1973.
Tech's standout also fell just
short of the all-time women's
NCAA mark of 50 points by

Drake's Lorri Bauman against
Maryland in the West Regional
finals in 1982. The old mark for
points in an entire tournament was
134, established by Tennessee's
Bridgette Gordon in 1989. Auburn's
Carolyn Jones held the old free
throw record of 41, set in 1990.
Krista Kirkland added 14 points
for Tech. Freshman Katie Smith led
Ohio State with 28 and Nikki Key-
ton scored 19..
Noel Johnson hit a jumper in the
lane and Stephanie Scott sailed in
for a layup after a steal, giving Tech,
a 65-62 lead with eight minutes to
go. The Lady Raiders led the rest
the game, answering each Ohio
State score down the stretch.

Texas Tech's Krista Kirkland goes
up against OSU's Averill Roberts.




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