In team handball, one of the world’s lesser-known sports, Nottingham High School graduate Theresa Contos is a veteran of international competition including the Olympics.
Contos was an all-around athlete at Nottingham where she starred in soccer, basketball, volleyball, softball and track and field. The Italian-American Athletic Club named her Student/Athlete of the Year in 1977. At SUNY Cortland, Contos continued her soccer and softball careers. She also played rugby and was also on the swimming team.
Contos discovered the obscure sport of team handball by accident when she ducked into the LeMoyne College gym to avoid a thunderstorm during the 1981 U.S. Sports Festival. It was love at first sight as she watched the intense athleticism demonstrated by six-player teams and a goalie working a cantaloupe-sized ball up and down a basketball court.
Contos’ team handball career began in 1982 when she tried out for and made the U.S. Team Handball squad, which placed fourth in the 1984 Olympics. Her team won national championships in 1983, 1986 and 1996. She also played in U.S. Olympic Festival, B World and A World Championship games, the Goodwill Games and the Pan-American Games. She has played against teams from Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, East Germany, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, Japan, Korea, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Soviet Union and West Germany.
In 1996, Contos was selected to carry the Olympic Torch through her hometown, an honor she says she will always cherish.
1984: Competed in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics
1996: Carried Olympic Torch in Syracuse
1999: Made the U.S. Team in the Pan-American Games