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U.S. Freestyle Team: Hannah Hardaway


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, 23

Moultonborough, New Hampshire

In the 2001 season, Hardaway nailed four world cup podiums — including two wins — and finished third overall for the season. Most notably, Hardaway won the first World Cup victory of her career on the Winter Olympic course at Deer Valley. She is also three-time U.S. mogul champion and five-time Junior Nationals champion. This is her seventh year on the USST.

Part-time Ivy:
Hardaway is just a few distance-learning courses away from graduating from Cornell University with a major in business management and marketing.

Toughest thing about being a World Cup bumper:
“It’s a really big challenge to stay healthy doing the sport that we do. I’ve had two knee surgeries myself, so I’m just trying to stay healthy so I can ski my best.”

Closest competition:
“The level is so high right now. It’s not just one person that everyone is chasing. Kari Traa, from Norway can throw two triples, but if I’m on my game I don’t feel that she’s any better than I am. I just want to be doing my best stuff when it counts.”

The winning edge:
“My turns. My technique. I’ve been known to ski very, very cleanly with no breaks and to always have my legs together. They call me the mono-skier because it looks like I’m on one ski. A lot of people, their legs will come apart every run.”

How she keeps it together:
“I’m really close with my family. I talk with them a lot on the phone. And Donna Weinbrecht is really good to talk to, whether you’re having a good day or a bad day. And I just try to do things that make me happy and make sure I’m not taking myself too seriously.”

Sports junkie:
“In high school I played volleyball, basketball, and softball. In college I played softball. I love to mountain bike, rock climb, and backpack. I love the outdoors. I’m just getting into skateboarding. I got a short board first, but then I got a lot of injuries in the skate park so now I just have a long board and I think I’m going to stick to that.” Hardaway also recently started surfing.

“Up until this year I had it set on six and then I cranked it up to eight. Now I’m on nine, nine and a half sometimes.” Hardaway cranked up her DIN after her skis came off in the air (from the torque of her swing) during a triple twister in competition at Tremblant, Quebec.

First phone call after a great competition day:
“My brother Hank. He’s four years older. He lives in New York City.”

Off-season adventure:
“This year I’m taking a three-week trip to India, backpacking. I’m going by myself, but my brother is going to come out for ten days.”

What’s in her carry-on:
“Oh, my carry-on bag is so heavy! I have my computer, my textbook for whatever course I’m working on, a book for pleasure reading, my CD player, my water bottle, and my toiletries, because they’ll explode if I put them in another bag.”

Chowing down:
“I love Indian food, I love Japanese food, and I love macaroni and cheese, too. I’m a recovering vegetarian. I was vegetarian for about four years.”

People would be surprised to know:
“I drank out of the Stanley Cup. Joe Nieuwendyk from the Dallas Stars brought the Stanley Cup to a bar while I was up at Cornell taking summer courses. I have friends on the Cornell hockey team, so I got to meet Joe… and then I got to drink apple pucker out of the cup. I had a test the next day so I ran over to the bar during a study break and then went back to studying!”