'Then there's me, Snowboard Girl'

 

And the winner of the 2006 ESPY is … Hannah Teter. Those are the words that the 19-year-old snowboarding sensation from Belmont would love to hear Sunday night, July 16, when ESPN, the all-sports, all-the-time network stages its annual ESPY Awards show. The ESPYS have become as coveted to sports figures as the Oscar is to movie stars. Teter, the gold medal winner in the halfpipe in the 2006 Winter Olympics, is being considered for three of these awards given by ESPN each year at a grand televised extravaganza before an audience studded with sports and entertainment superstars. Lance Armstrong hosts this year's event. Teter is a candidate for the Best Female Athlete, the Best Female Action Athlete and the Best Olympian. "It's super cool; I'm very excited," Teter said in a recent telephone interview from the O'Hare Airport in Chicago while on a cross-country trip to Oregon. "It's coming up real soon … and I haven't been on the red carpet for a while so it feels goooooood." Teter enjoyed a tremendous burst of fame after winning the gold at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. She was a hit on the David Letterman Show, and stole the show on Jimmy Kimmel Live, while appearing on other national talk shows along the television circuit. With her fresh face, blonde hair and sparkling personality, Teter clearly enjoyed the flash and sizzle of her 15 minutes of fame. Since the snow melted and the glare of the spotlight found someone new, Teter has kept a much lower profile. She underwent a surgical procedure on her knee and came home to her parents' house in Belmont to rest and recuperate. Her brother, Elijah, also a professional snowboarder, came home to spend time with the family and assist Hannah, driving her to rehab and training sessions. Teter was put on a program by noted trainer Bill Knowles and much of that training was accomplished at ISport in Killington, with Knowles directing it personally. In June, Teter and her family were guests of honor at the annual Rutland Dismas House Memorial Dinner, where the Teter family received the Rev. Jack Hickey Award. Each year Rutland Dismas House bestows the award, for those who "live a generous life and exemplify the "Dismas family" model. "This year, 2006 Olympic Gold Medalist Hannah Teter and the Teter Family of Belmont, Vt., will receive the award," the event program read, "for the remarkable support they give one another." The idea of putting family first and pulling together against the odds are refrains in the story of the Hannah Teter and her family in general. While in Vermont, she also spent some time at her old grammar school. At Mount Holly Elementary she was honored by second-graders who read poems to her that they had written after she won Olympic gold. Another reason to spend some time in the Green Mountain State was to get her charity up and running full steam. "Hannah's Gold" maple syrup is being sold online at www.hannahsgold.com or locally from Maple Side Sugar House in East Wallingford (259-2462). The proceeds are bound for World Vision, a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide overcome poverty. Maple syrup and World Vision have both been huge factors in Hannah Teter's life. The Teter family sponsored foster children through World Vision throughout Hannah's life. Hannah is the lone girl and youngest of five Teter children. Throughout her travels on the snowboard circuit, while winning the X-Game crown last year and before taking her near-perfect gold medal Olympic run, Teter has heralded the glories of the maple syrup. The sweet amber delicacy was an elixir to her before competitions and became her calling card. Teter has been cleared to resume walking and will attend the ESPYs award ceremony, which will be taped Saturday for replay Sunday on ESPN. "I've been cleared to resume walking and get rid of the crutches," Teter said with a laugh. "I'm so through with them." She will be accompanied by her friend, Eli Lieberman, the lead singer of the Reggae band "Strive Roots." Teter said she probably will not return to Vermont on this trip and will return to her home at Lake Tahoe. She will get back on a snowboard in Chile later this summer as a way to get back to riding. Teter conceded to being taken aback to be nominated for the ESPYs. "I had no idea that I would be nominated for one of the biggest awards they have," Teter said. "It's like there is the big basketball player, the well-known golfer and then there's me, Snowboard Girl. It's like so cool. I can't wait." Contact Chuck Clarino at chuck.clarino@rutlandherald.com

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