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PARK CITY, Utah (Aug. 17) - The Women's Sports Foundation announced this week that Olympic gold medalist Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT) and Paralymic gold medalist Laurie Stephens (Wenham, MA) have been named finalists for the Sportswoman of the Year award, honoring extraordinary performances in women's athletics.

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In February Teter became the second American to win Olympic halfpipe gold, besting silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, CO) and 2002 Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark (Mount Snow, VT) in the process. The victory propelled her to win the ESPY Award for Best Female Action Sports Athlete following her third consecutive year as a nominee in the category.

The Olympic success then compelled the 19-year-old Vermont native and former X Games champion to launch 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. Athletically, she also won the only two World Cup competitions she entered with back-to-back victories to open the season in Valle Nevado, Chile. To qualify for the Olympic Team, Teter hit the podium in three of five Grand Prix events, including a victory at the opening event in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Stephens, who was born with spinal bifida, dominated the 2006 Paralympic Games with gold medal performances in downhill and super G along with a silver medal in giant slalom. She also claimed seven more World Cup victories for a total of 23 World Cup wins in three seasons to go with her nine World Cup titles.

This past winter, there was no downhill title, (the lone DH was rolled into the super G points) but Stephens won her third straight overall title, her third straight GS crown and her second straight super G championship. The storybook season was good enough to garner the Stephens an ESPY nod for Best Female Athlete with a Disability.

The award winners will be announced on Monday, October 16, 2006, and honored at the Annual Salute to Women in Sports Awards Dinner at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City.

-- Best in the World --