Hannah Teter knows all about showing up for big contests. She won halfpipe gold at the Winter Olympics in Turin in 2006, followed by a silver behind Torah Bright in Vancouver 2010. Ahead of next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi we chat medal prospects (she replies with the best answer ever!), boycotts, top secret tricks, the temptations of posting sexy shots on social media and how she deals with that and her ongoing charidee work
Hey Hannah how’s it going? How is the Sochi prep going?
The prep process is going well, I’ve been doing a ton of snowboarding all summer and fall to really get my tricks dialled in!
Is it difficult mentally having the US trials so late [with the Winter Olympics just two months away] or do you just prepare as if you’ve already qualified?
It is kinda crazy having to do five Olympic Qualifiers before the actual big show! Definitely a tad bit jealous of a few friends who are already named in their countries Olympic team and all they have to do this season is the Olympics! But this will be my third time going through the hoops and I think it is actually semi-beneficial to have to battle it out with the American girls, because in my mind, we have the most talented halfpipe riders. So once we make the USA Team, it’s kind of a cake walk.
How realistic do you think your medal prospects are at Sochi?
Very high. I’m the type of rider that shines when the pressures on… that’s why I’ve been able to do so well in the past.
Are you feeling any nerves about it and if so how will you manage them nearer the time?
The nerves haven’t kicked in yet… they usually do as we get closer to the qualifiers. But to overcome them I get deep tissue massages, I do a lot of visualising, meditation and stretching.
Can we expect any new tricks or are you keeping them secret?
I read the Time interview with your thoughts on boycotting the Olympics. If a US team boycott doesn’t happen would you think about boycotting yourself or would you consider going and doing something symbolic while there such as John Carlos’s black power salute or kissing a fellow female athlete? As we discuss in this piece
That really is an important issue that deserves attention, but the Olympic committee won’t tolerate athlete demonstrations during the games, and will kick people out for doing so, so I’ve got to bite my tongue a little and focus on my sport and what I’ve got to do.
Do you think snowboarding should mount a campaign such as #irideforkevin [following Kevin Pearce's traumatic brain injury in 2010] but for gay rights?
Yes I do, we’re the perfect athletes to stand up for change and laws that are humanely incorrect.
Speaking of injuries, have the high profile incidents such as Kevin’s and of course the Sarah Burke tragedy affected your riding, is it something you think about on the mountain?
I wake up every morning and feel grateful for the day and the opportunities. I try not to dwell on misfortune.
You defended your right to pose for Sports Illustrated in 2010 and you sometimes post (albeit very cool and tasteful!) bikini shots on instagram which get heaps of likes, is it tempting to post more of that kind of thing knowing it would it enhance your marketability and if so how do you manage that?
We were just talking about how many likes surfer girls get because all they post are bikini shots! It is tempting to get into that more “sexy” type of social media, but I’m a snowboarder, and I think people love seeing scenic winter beauty shots just as much as bikini shots.
Who are your heroes?
People who stand up for change and for the better of the planet…. people like Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King.
Should Burton have girls in guys’ snowboard movies rather than separate girls’ movies in your opinion?
It is nice to be mixed in with the guys in movies, I think it gives more viewership for girls riding.
What’s the latest with your charity work, are there any new causes you’d like to tell the readers about?
Well if you haven’t checked them out, please do! Maple Syrup and underwear make great gifts! These products help third world country children more then you’ll ever know! We have some new designs coming out for the Holiday season with sweet cheeks too, see them here.