RENAISSANCE SOCIETY FORUM
OCTOBER 22, 2021
NOTE: This Forum will be 90 minutes long and open to the Public.
Invite your Family and Friends!
SACRAMENTO’S FANTASTIC OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST SWIMMERS
This Forum will feature 5 Olympic Gold Medalist swimmers currently or originally from the Sacramento region. It will be a “round table” discussion of the experiences of being a world record holder and the epitome of success in the sports world, what it took to have such focus, what each gold medalist had to give up for their careers, and how they handled transitioning from the intensity of training and competition to post-Olympic “civilian life” … Our very capable Beth Ruyak, formerly from Capitol Public Radio, will moderate the discussion. Check out all of our Renaissance Society's
Fall 2021 Forums and classes HERE.
• MIKE BURTON:
Mike is a three-time Olympic gold medalist, with two Golds in Mexico City in 1968: 400
freestyle and 1500 freestyle. In 1972, Mike became the first swimmer in history to defend
the Olympic 1500-meter freestyle title by breaking the world record with his third Olympic
gold medal in 2000. Mike was also USA’s 1972 Swimming Team Captain and USA Flag
Bearer during Closing Ceremonies in Munich. His accomplishments include seven world
swimming records, 19 United States records, 13 national championships and five NCAA
titles while attending UCLA. He was installed in the International Swimming Hall of Fame
in 1977. As a Charter member of the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984, Mike was also
chosen by USA Swimming to the “Team of the Century”. In 2015 Swimming World
Magazine featured Mike’s 1500 swim in Munich as one of the greatest individual event
upsets in Olympic swimming history.
• JEFF FLOAT:
During his infancy, viral meningitis claimed up to 90% of Jeff’s hearing. Despite this handicap,
Jeff did indeed “Float” … really fast! While competing at the World Games for the Deaf, he
finished first in all ten offered events, remaining an unprecedented feat 44 years later! While
Jeff qualified for the 1980 USA Olympic Team, the US boycotted the games that year, but he
also made the ‘84 cut and was reinstated as their peer-elected Team Captain. That year he and
his teammates clinched the 4X200-meter free-relay by 4/100ths of a second, smashing the world
record by 5 seconds for the Gold! He now inspires youth as Aquatics Director and Head Swim
Coach with Spare Time Inc. and Personal Trainer at his original Arden Hills Swim Club in
• SUMMER (SANDERS) SCHLOPY:
An Olympic Champion swimmer, Summer (Sanders) Schlopy is also an NBA television host,
a Nickelodeon game show host and an ambassador of international charitable organizations.
She began her swimming career at the age of 4. She earned a scholarship to Stanford University
where, in her two-year collegiate swimming career, she won every NCAA title in which she was
entered, back-to-back NCAA swimmer of the year and the National Championship with her
teammates in 1992. Also, in 1992, she represented Team USA at the Barcelona Olympic Games
bringing home more medals than anyone else in the pool: 2 Golds, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze. Now
she enjoys a 28-yr career as a TV host and reporter for every major network and is best known
for her 10-year position as co-host of “NBA’s Inside Stuff”. Summer is also the author of
“Champions Are Raised, Not Born: How My Parents Made Me a Success”. She is married to
fellow Olympian, Erik Schlopy, and they have two kids, Skye and Spider, and reside in Park
• MARK SPITZ:
Mark is one of the most celebrated athletes of all time with 35 World records and 7 Olympic
Gold Medals in swimming. In 2000, Mark was voted one of the six best Olympians of the
Century by Sports Illustrated Magazine. He secured numerous endorsements and has become
a well-known motivational speaker. He also established a swimwear company in partnership
with Adidas called Arena. Recently, the International Olympic Committee selected Mark as
one of five Athletes of the Century. Mark currently works with the Laureus World Sports
Academy on projects worldwide in concert with the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation
which uses sports as a powerful and cost-effective tool to help children and young people
overcome violence, discrimination and disadvantage in their lives.
• DEBBIE (MEYER) WEBER:
Debbie was a 2-time Gold medalist in the ‘67 Pan American Games, 3-time Gold medalist in the
‘68 Olympics, broke 19 American records and 20 World records in swimming. She is also a
member of the US Olympic Hall of Fame, International Swimming Hall of Fame, US High School
Hall of Fame, Women’s Sports Foundation Hall of Fame and Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame.
She has coached high school, NCAA DI&DII, Recreational and USA Swim teams. She has also
worked in promotional roles for Speedo International, Coca Cola, Sports Illustrated, Life Savers
and Iron Kids and served as a commentator for CBS Sports Spectacular and ESPN. Debbie owned,
operated and taught at the very successful Debbie Meyer Swim School in Sacramento for 25 years
and is married to Bill Weber, with 3 children and 3 grandchildren..
• BETH RUYAK: Moderator
We are grateful to have, once again, as a special treat, our very own 4+ Emmy Award winning
Beth Ruyak -- reporter, writer, news anchor, producer and former Host of Capital Public Radio’s
Insight – who will moderate and interview these amazing athletes. Beth began her career in
journalism nearly four decades ago as a news reporter in Minnesota. She landed the first of six
Olympic assignments with the NBC Sports team in Barcelona. After 30 years in television, she
jumped into public radio and as of 2020 is now focusing on documentary work with her newest
endeavor, Ruyak Media.