Park City, UT—U.S. Snowboarding rider Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT) was voted 2006 Sportwoman of the Year, the top honor of the United States Olympic Committee, for her gold medal performance in halfpipe at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games and for her personal humanitarian efforts.
“Hannah’s contributions to the Olympic movement from her great enthusiasm and energy, her creativity in the halfpipe and not to mention her humanitarian efforts exemplifies Hannah as a core example of the U.S. Snowboarding program.” said USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt. “She, like many of our athletes, has used her athletic talent to help others and I full heartedly applaud the USOC for its decision.”
Following her victory in Torino, the 19-year-old former Chevorlet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix champion created a line of Grade A, Vermont Maple Syrup called “Hannah’s Gold” with all profits donated to poverty stricken children in Africa through a partnership with World Vision.
“Maple syrup has been in my family since I was young,” said Teter. “It was this whole experience that brought us all together so I was like hmmm, maple syrup would be such a good project to tell people a story about how it relates to family, so I decided to dedicate it towards people who need food and clothing. Hannah’s Gold is dedicated to Africa because the AIDS (epidemic) struck me and there are 16 million orphans in Africa alone, so Hannah’s Gold is dedicated to them.”
The only girl in a family of four boys, two of them pro snowboarders, Teter grew up on a sugar bush in Vermont, where parents Jeff and Pat taught the kids how to produce syrup. “It was a family thing,” explains Teter, one that helped shaped her vision of helping others.
“I’ve always been interested since I was young, I was like ‘OK, I live in America, but what’s going on in other places’ and to read about other people making changes and making differences and being interested also has just pushed me to keep evolving in that manner and keep remembering that I do want to learn about the world as a whole,” she said.
To date, Hannah’s Gold has raised $10,000 toward the cause based solely on her personal marketing effort for the brand in a whirlwind post Olympic media tour that took her from the front page of Sports Illustrated to waving the green flag at the Daytona 500.
“Last year was just so fun for me with many cool experiences, coming from such an amazing family, my foundation has just been so strong – I just feel the power to get out there in the world and express the style of snowboarding and also to reach out to other places,” added Teter. “My goal from the beginning was that if I ever made it big, it would reach out as much as humanly possible. That’s the goal right now is to keep reaching back out and touching other people and other places and changing things.”
The award will be added to her ESPY for Best Female Action Sports Athlete, an honor she shared with male counterpart and fellow halfpipe Olympic gold medalist Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA) in mid July. She also was nominated for Female Snowboarder of the Year in the inaugural FUSE Action Sports Awards and Female Athlete of the Year by the Women’s Sports Foundation.
Also recognized by the USOC are Long-track speedskater Joey Cheek, Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long and the U.S. Men’s Curling Team; each selected as Sportsman, Paralympic and Team of the Year respectively. Fellow snow sport athletes preceding Teter for the honor are Tamara McKinney (alpine skiing, 1983), Picabo Street (alpine skiing, 1995/1998) and Paralympian Laurie Stephens (disabled alpine skiing, 2005).