A special Olympian

Teter thrilled to help with Special Olympics

ASPEN — Hannah Teter’s boundless energy is evident in whatever she does.

The Vermont native made a special trip to Aspen this weekend.

But the snowboard halfpipe and X Games were not on the agenda. Teter is one of the best in the world on a snowboard and will be looking for gold at next week’s Winter Olympics.

She decided to skip this year’s X Games to focus on the Olympics in Sochi, Russia. But she still came to Aspen on a mission.

The mission was about snowboarding and having fun.

Teter, who turns 27 today, was joined by 10 Special Olympians and 12 professional snowboarders to compete in a unified dual slalom race Sunday on Aspen Mountain.

At the post-race ceremony at the Sky Hotel, Teter smiled as she presented medals and gave hugs to the athletes.

Teter was introduced Sunday as the newest Special Olympics Global Ambassador. She is the first action sports professional athlete who has become a global ambassador.

The ambassadors are celebrities and athletes who promote Special Olympics around the world. Ambassadors included people like Michael Phelps, Apolo Ohno, Michelle Kwan and former NBA star Yao Ming.

Sounding 100 percent like the fun-loving, rad snowboarder that she is, Teter said she’s stoked to be part of Special Olympics.

“It’s just amazing to spend time with people who are having so much fun. Competition is about fun and being with your friends and cheering each other on,” she said. “This just stokes my fuel to go to Sochi.

“It’s just a huge reminder of why I started snowboarding, because how fun it is.”

Hugging and high-fiving every athlete, Teter’s love of Special Olympics is evident at every turn.

It was her special needs brother who got her involved. She saw how he was teased and excluded from so many things when he was a youngster.

She jumped at the opportunity to be involved.

“It is motivating to be one of those professional athletes out there standing up for something. Special Olympics is a perfect fit for me because it’s exactly what I stand for. Equality for all, bringing everyone together through sports. It’s a no brainer.”

Teter, who won an Olympic gold in 2006 and silver in 2010, has log been known for her charitable work, including helping causes in Africa.

She said that being a global ambassador is a special honor.

“Being a global ambassador, to me, means being part of an amazing movement. Making changes, changing lives,” she said.

With the X Gamers across town and a number of her fellow snowboarders and Olympians competing, Teter asked them if they wanted be part of the Special Olympics event.

“I asked a bunch of my friends. And they’re all so busy but they were like, ‘Yeah, I’ll be there, what time?’ “

Jamie Anderson left the X Games on Saturday night with a silver medal around her neck. On Sunday she spent time with Special Olympians.

“It was amazing hanging out with them. They have so much fun and have such a different outlook on life, it helps me slow down and appreciate how precious life is and be grateful of all the amazing things,” she said.

Other professional snowboarders who participated included Arielle Gold and Scotty James.

Anderson, who won a silver medal in the snowboard halfpipe will join Teter on the Olympic team.

Mackenzie Beauvais-Nikl, 18, was one of the Special Olympians who raced on Sunday. She looked a little embarrassed when she confessed that she’s never heard of Hannah Teter before Sunday.

“I have to tell you the truth, I didn’t know who Hannah was,” she said with a smile.

But now she knows her and plans to watch her in the Olympics. She said she’s happy that Teter is now a global ambassador.

“Now, I know who she is and her heart is really good,” she said,

Beauvais-Nikl, who is from Denver, is one of only 12 Special Olympians from the U.S. who will play a unified basketball game during the NBA All-Star weekend in New Orleans.

Teter’s ever-present smile never faded as she presented medals to the athletes.

“That’s my favorite part,” she said. “I love being part of the event, being out there with the athletes, helping with awards. Seeing how stoked they are when they get their awards, that brings me a lot of joy. I could do that every day.”


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