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Alyson Dudek

U.S. Olympic Short-Track Speedskater

Why She’s Amazing

Alyson Dudek doesn’t want to be a princess. She wants to be more.

At the age of seven, Alyson watched the 1998 Winter Olympics and fell in love with speedskating. With many of the speedskating Olympians training 15 minutes from her home, Alyson literally had countless examples of inspiration in her own back yard.

After years of training, Alyson reached her ultimate goal of not only competing in, but also winning a bronze medal, in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Alyson wasn’t finished and went on to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

In addition to her Olympic accomplishments, Alyson also embraces an anti-bullying platform and has taken her message in person to students in her home state of Wisconsin as well as nationwide via her website and social media.

We had a chance to ask Alyson a few questions. Something tells us that this modern day trailblazer is on the fast track to success.

“Life is full of ups and downs, but stay humble, stay
true, work hard, never give up on your dreams, and you will end up exactly you’re supposed to
be.” – Alyson Dudek

Q & A

Q: When you were a young girl, what did you want to be when you grew up and why?

A: When I was young, I wanted to be an architect when I grew up. I was fascinated by houses and buildings and the different layouts of houses. Of course, my family was supportive, knowing I’d most likely change my mind, especially after I realized I wasn’t all that interested in math!

Q: Did people call you “princess” when you were a little girl and, if so, how did that make you feel?

A: I don’t remember ever being called a princess when I was younger, I think because I was always more of a tomboy. I played a lot of sports, played outdoors and wasn’t afraid to get dirty.

Q: How did you become interested in pursuing a career as an Olympic short-track speedskater?

A: When I was seven years old, I watched the 1998 Winter Olympics and fell in love with the sport of speedskating. Many of the U.S. speedskating Olympians were from and trained at the Pettit National Ice Center just 15 minutes from where I grew up, which at the time, was the only indoor oval in the country. I joined the local club, the West Allis Speedskating Club, and learned how to skate both on the long track and the short track. Eventually, it came time to choose one or the other, and I loved the “pack style” of racing on the short track.

Q: Did you have a mentor or role model who inspired you?

A: Initially, I was inspired by Casey Fitzrandolph when I watch the ‘98 Games. I was also from Wisconsin, so I felt a home state connection to Casey. I was lucky enough to have later met him and skate around the rink with together, which only inspired me more to become an Olympian myself.

Q: Did your family and friends support your aspirations?

A: My mom and dad have always been extremely supportive of my Olympic aspirations from day one. I had a lot of energy even as a kid, so the more active I was, the more my parents supported me!

Q: Did you think about being called a “trailblazer” for choosing this path?

A: The term “trailblazer” never occurred to me until much later on. Because of the opportunities I have had and the many countries I have been to because of my success in my sport, I have become an avid adventurist. My ambitions, determination, open mindedness, and country representation is what makes me a true trailblazer.

Q: What motivates you?

A: My goals motivate me. I thrive on hard work and success, I gravitate toward a challenge and never give up.

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Q: Of what are you most proud?

A: I am proud of accomplishing my Olympic dreams…twice, and becoming an Olympic bronze medalist.

Q: What would you like people to learn from you?

A: I hope to inspire young kids and adults alike to dream big and go for their goals. Anything is possible when you put your mind to it and don’t stray from the difficult journey.

Q: What three words would you like people to use to describe you?

A: Driven. Strong. Enthusiastic.

Q: What do you want people to know about you outside of your accomplishments?

A: I am extremely energetic and love to help others to live happy and healthy lives. I love to be outdoors and explore the world and all of it’s beauty. I crave adventure and love to immerse myself in different cultures around the globe. I am all about living the journey, both in my personal life and around the world.

Q: Who do you follow on social media that shares your passion for women’s sports at the highest level?

A: Jen Hudak. She is a professional skier and a total go getter. Her Instagram is absolutely incredible…beautiful landscapes and cool shots of skiing and mountain biking.

Q: If you could eat lunch with one person, whom would it be?

A: Aaron Rodgers. One, I love the Green Bay Packers. Two, I would like to just casually talk, athlete to athlete with Aaron.

Q: Which woman would you choose to have on U.S. currency?

A: I would choose to have Margaret Hamilton on U.S. currency. I recently learned about Margaret and her compelling accomplishments and wonder why she’s isn’t more well known. Margaret was a software engineer director at MIT and NASA which developed the on board computer systems for the Apollo 11. She wrote all of the Apollo Guidance Computer source code BY HAND.

Q: What advice would you give to a girl who right now wants to be just like you?

A: I would say to not be like me, be like you. The biggest advice I can give young girls is to be true to themselves, no matter where life takes them. Life is full of ups and downs, but stay humble, stay true, work hard, never give up on your dreams, and you will end up exactly you’re supposed to be.

Start writing about anything you find interesting.

Go to a great journalism college. I loved the University of Southern California.

And remember, to be successful you have to make sacrifices. You rarely can have it all, so ask yourself if you’ll be happy with the decision you’re about to make.

Bonus Question: What question would you ask the next Modern Day Trailblazer we interview?

A: What would you be willing to give up to pursue your dreams?

Fun Facts:

  • The last book Alyson read was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.
  • Her go-to karaoke song is “Ain’t No Other Man” by Christina Aguilera.
  • Alyson is late, early and right on time all of the time! I’m constantly running around at a million miles an hour, I don’t have a pattern!
  • Her favorite quote is “Take care of your character, and your reputation will take care of you.”
  • Alyson is currently binge-watching New Girl.