Oct. 14, 2009
NEW YORK -
Former Wisconsin women’s hockey goaltender Jessie Vetter received her highest honor to date Tuesday night at the Women’s Sports Foundation’s 30th Annual Salute to Women in Sports Dinner. At a ceremony held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, and hosted by Bob Costas and Mary Carillo Vetter was named Sportswoman of the Year for team sport athletes. Sports fans and champion athletes from Laila Ali, Shawn Johnson and Michelle Kwan to young breakout stars such as Melanie Oudin gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of those who have helped break down barriers and open doors for girls striving to make their mark in female athletics.
Vetter, who was recognized for her accomplishments with both the U.S. Women's National Hockey Team and the University of Wisconsin women's hockey team, is the first ice hockey player to receive the international award, which is determined via fan vote.
The Women's Sports Foundation bestows the award on an individual and team each year based on their athletic achievements during the span of Aug. 1, 2008 to July 31, 2009 (the 2008 Olympics were included in last year's award). Past winners include Nastia Liukin (2008), Mia Hamm (1997, 1999) and Michelle Kwan (1998).
Along with Vetter, gymnast Courtney Kupets accepted the Sportswoman of the Year Award for individual sport athletes, while basketball star Tiffara Steward was honored with the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award. In addition to these amazing athletes, The Gatorade Company received the Billie Jean King Contribution Award and Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics Dick Ebersol was awarded with the Industry Leader Award, while Annika Sorenstam and Pat Summitt received special tributes.
Vetter’s accomplishments go far beyond the college level as she represented the U.S. women’s ice hockey team as goaltender in 2009. After making 39 saves, Vetter helped Team USA defeat Canada and win the gold at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Women’s Championship and, for a second time, was named Olympic Athlete of the Week by USA Today. Vetter, the 2009 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner, also holds multiple NCAA Division I records from her time at Wisconsin. She is the all-time NCAA Division I leader for career victories (91) and shutouts (39) and has the single-season shutout record (14).
Vetter capped her college career with a career high-tying 37 saves against Mercyhurst to earn her third NCAA title and earn an NCAA-record four Frozen Four shutouts, two in semifinal games and two in championship games. In addition, she was an All-America First Team selection, an All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association First Team honoree and was named the MVP of both the NCAA Women's Frozen Four and the WCHA Final Face-off.
Currently, Vetter is tending goal for the 2009-10 U.S. Women's National Team during the Qwest Tour, a 10-game, nine city tour in preparation for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. For a schedule and more information, visit QwestTour.com.
Vetter was chosen from a group of 10 team-sport finalists that included Cara Black & Liezel Huber (tennis doubles), Nicole Fawcett (volleyball), Sandra Kiriasis (bobsled), Shannon Kleibrink (curling), Kelly Kulick (bowling), Danielle Lawrie (softball), Renee Montgomery (basketball), Hannah Nielsen (lacrosse) and Marta Vieira da Silva (soccer).
In addition to recognizing high-profile athletes and their supporters, the Women’s Sports Foundation uses the Annual Salute to Women in Sports to help forward its mission to promote equality and progress for women and girls in sports and athletics. The Annual Salute to Women in Sports was co-presented by ESPN and Gatorade®, and American Airlines was the official airline of the 2009 benefit.
About the Women’s Sports Foundation
The Women’s Sports Foundation—the leading authority on the participation of women and girls in sports—advocates for equality, educates the public, conducts research and offers grants to promote sports and physical activity for girls and women. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, the Women’s Sports Foundation builds on her legacy as a champion athlete, advocate of social justice and agent of change. We strive for gender equity and fight discrimination in all aspects of athletics. Our work shapes public attitude about women’s sports and athletes, builds capacities for organizations that get girls active, provides equal opportunities for girls and women, and supports physically and emotionally healthy lifestyles. The Women’s Sports Foundation is recognized worldwide for its leadership, vision, strength, expertise and influence. For more information, please call the Women’s Sports Foundation at 800.227.3988 or visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org.