Watch: Olympic Champ Reacts to Caitlin Clark's Screen Saver, Makes a Joke that Backfires


Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

Do you remember Summer Sanders?

If you are, your name might be Summer Sanders, or you might be one of her family members. To put this in perspective, when she had her moment of sporting glory at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, here were some of the people who were still alive: Richard Nixon, Audrey Hepburn, Kurt Cobain, John Candy, Jessica Tandy, Jerry Garcia and Dinah Shore.

I mean, I hate to be morbid, but you remember those people, and you remember those people for being dead, and being dead for a really, really long time.

Those people were all still with us when Summer Sanders won two golds, a silver and a bronze in Barcelona. That’s impressive. It’s beyond the capabilities of all but only a minuscule percentage of Americans. And it will be in the record books as long as the record books exist.

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But still, it’s not exactly Michael Phelps territory, which is why we kind of forgot she was still around unless we were regular viewers of the Pac-12 Network, a soon-to-be mothballed cable network of a collegiate athletic conference that has an equally shaky future, since 10 of its 12 members are leaving.

Sanders also once hosted the first game show ever broadcast on HLN — formerly CNN Headline News — called “Keywords,” which I’m sure was watched by upward of tens of people.

However, she is upset. Why? Because WNBA phenom Caitlin Clark has Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in the history of the Olympics, as the screen saver on her phone. And not Summer Sanders! Can you believe it?

Yes, actually. Pretty much everyone could.

Do you like Caitlin Clark?

Sanders’ modest proposal for a change of screen saver came on the TikTok account of “We Need to Talk,” billed as “The FIRST-ever all women’s sports show.”

It’s apparently a digital show put on by CBS that’s been around for 10 years and currently has 253,000 followers on TikTok and fewer than 50,000 subscribers on YouTube. To paraphrase a Matthew McConaughey character, those aren’t even rookie numbers and I don’t know how you pump them up after 10 years.

Oh, wait, yes I do: Get a once-famous Olympian to try to latch onto Clarkmania.

In the clip, which was posted in April but just gained viral traction, Clark is shown in her University of Iowa uniform with her iPhone and a picture of Phelps as its wallpaper, noting that she has it there because “swimming in the Olympics, it’s pretty tough.”

“Hi, Caitlin, my name is Summer,” Sanders introduces herself. (Note to “stars”: If you have to introduce yourself, you aren’t one.)

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“You may not know me, but I actually have been part of basketball for a really long time,” she said, referencing previous work doing light NBA and WNBA analyst duty.

“But before that, I was part of the chlorinated sport of swimming,” Sanders said. “And I know you have a really special screen saver, but I wanted to offer one up for you.”

Yes, and guess who it’s a picture of?

@weneedtotalk Summer Sanders GOT YOU, 22 ✌️🤝 #caitlinclark #iowa #marchmadness #finalfour #nationalchampionship #championship #collegebasketball #cbb #wbb #womensbasketball #hawkeyes #michaelphelps #olympics #gold ♬ original sound – We Need To Talk

Perhaps it’s telling that this didn’t even backfire on social media until late June, when a few X accounts noted that this was a bit thirsty and “bizarre”:

“Who knows who Summer Sanders is?” one person asked.

Nobody, that’s who. She’s someone who apparently thinks she’s iPhone wallpaper material for Caitlin Clark because she’s a woman and Clark is a woman and Michael Phelps is a man.

Even as a joke, it’s deluded. Next!

Look, I get that Clarkmania is the sports story of the moment now that Taylor/Travis and the Kansas City Chiefs are in offseason mode. I also understand everyone wants a part of it.

However, Summer Sanders: You were briefly famous during a period in which George H.W. Bush was the president, Joseph Biden was a young-ish senator from Delaware who was chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barack Obama was a law professor at the University of Chicago and Nirvana still hadn’t recorded the follow-up to “Nevermind” (and Mr. Cobain was still very much alive).

Your fellow American Olympic champions in Barcelona included Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley and the rest of the “Dream Team,” along with tennis star Jennifer Capriati, sprinter Michael Johnson, and literally nobody else anybody remembers. (That, for most of us, includes you.)

You had a moderately successful career doing various broadcast work. By “moderately successful” I mean better than the average person who makes a stab at a sports broadcasting career and ends up working high-school basketball games in Shreveport, not better than or equal to your fellow Olympian, Mr. Barkley.

That’s not a bad lot in life, as long as you’ve lived the rest of it successfully. Don’t get me wrong.

But you’re not Caitlin Clark wallpaper material. Even in a joking context, it’s embarrassing. Stop trying to make Caitlin Clark wallpaper material happen. Like “fetch,” it’s not going to happen.

A Note from Our Deputy Managing Editor:


I heard a chilling comment the other day: “We don’t even know if an election will be held in 2024.” 


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Deputy Managing Editor

The Western Journal

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture