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An Olympian Made My Hat

Olympic skiers do more than work out and bash gates. Some make goggles, coffee, hats, and notecards. Introducing four Olympians to watch out for at the 2010 Vancouver Games—and the products and businesses they've launched to provide a little job security after the big show. By Liz Yokubison.

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Ted Ligety is 25 years old and has never been to college, but he owns a global ski-accessory company. He started Shred Optics after winning the gold…

Ted Ligety is 25 years old and has never been to college, but he owns a global ski-accessory company. He started Shred Optics after winning the gold medal in 2006 because he wanted more radical designs than those offered from existing race goggles. Case in point: Shred’s new Omnibot 80s come with an orange frame, blue strap, and signature neon lenses. The company, based on Ligety’s nickname, Ted Shred, also sells helmets (check out the one called Brain Bucket) and sunglasses.

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Freestyle mogul skier Shannon Bahrke, who’s known for her pink hair, won silver in the 2002 Olympics. Her Salt Lake City-based company, Silver Bean…

Freestyle mogul skier Shannon Bahrke, who’s known for her pink hair, won silver in the 2002 Olympics. Her Salt Lake City-based company, Silver Bean Coffee, sells athlete blends—like the Julia Mancuso and Steve Nyman blend—with packaging that includes photos of each Olympic hopeful. A portion of the profits cover the athletes’ training expenses and goes to charities of their choosing. And yes, you can even buy the Shannon Bahrke blend.

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Everyone needs a notecard at some point. Why not get one made by a chick who shoots a .22 caliber rifle. Biathlete Haley Johnson sprints on skate…

Everyone needs a notecard at some point. Why not get one made by a chick who shoots a .22 caliber rifle. Biathlete Haley Johnson sprints on skate skis, flops down on her belly, tries to hit a target, and then repeats. “It took me a couple times to shoot without closing my eyes, but then I got the hang of it,” Johnson says. No surprise that a girl like this gets inspiration for her business, Snowfall Cards, by paging through magazines backwards and upside down. Johnson creates modern-looking cards from a mix of colors and shapes cut from old magazines.

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During the 2006 Olympic trials, a bobsled flew off the track and fractured Noelle Pikus Pace’s tibia. In an instant, her Olympic dreams were…

During the 2006 Olympic trials, a bobsled flew off the track and fractured Noelle Pikus Pace’s tibia. In an instant, her Olympic dreams were shattered. Fast forward to present day. The skeleton racer, who slides face first at 80 miles per hour, started SnowFire Hats to help fund her 2010 Olympic return. The signature earflap beanies aren’t your traditional ski hats—they have artificial hair coming out of the top (we’re not totally sure why).

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