Theresa Contos

Inducted in 2003

Born: Syracuse, NY 1959
Resides: Syracuse, NY
High School: Nottingham
College: SUNY Cortland
Career: Team Handball, US Olympic Team

In one of the lesser-known sports, Team Handball, a Syracusan has played a vital role. She’s Theresa Contos, a veteran of international competition, including the Olympics and a native of our community.

Born in Syracuse in 1959, Theresa was an all-around athlete at Nottingham High School where she starred in soccer, basketball, volleyball, softball, track and field. The Italian-American Athletic Club named her Student/Athlete of the Year in 1977.

Next step: College. Theresa attended SUNY Cortland and continued her soccer and softball careers. She also played rugby and was also on the swimming team.

Theresa discovered the obscure sport of team handball by accident when she ducked into the LeMoyne College gym to avoid a thunderstorm during the 1981 Sports Festival. It was love at first sight as she watched the intense athleticism demonstrated by teams of six girls and a goalie working a cantaloupe-sized ball up and down a basketball court.

Her Team Handball career began in 1982 when she tried out and made the US Team Handball squad, which placed fourth in the 1984 Olympics. Her team won national championships in 1983, 1986, and 1996. She also played in US Olympic Festival, B World and A World Championship games, Goodwill Games and 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 Theresa was selected to carry the Olympic Torch through her hometown, an honor she says she will always cherish. In 1999 she made the US Team in the Pan-American Games.