After winning the 500-meter event and finishing second overall in Short Track at the U.S. National Championship Olympic Qualifiers in September 2009, Alyson (Aly) Dudek and her teammates brought home the Olympic Bronze medal in the 3,000 meter relay race in Vancouver in 2010. Aly will be competing in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia with the goals of medaling individually.
Born and raised in Hales Corners, Wis., Aly grew up in a community where some of the greatest Olympians in speed skating got their start – Eric Heiden, Dan Jansen and Casey Fitzrandolph have won the most overall medals in the history of the sport. Living near the Pettit National Ice Center, the only indoor 400-meter speed skating oval in the country at the time, Aly was just 7 when her family took her to skate. “We never saw her,” says her mom, Mary Dudek. “She’d take off and leave us in the dust. We signed her up with the local West Allis Speedskating Club. She started out skating long track, but she was always looking over her shoulder at the short track. Once she switched to short track, Aly never looked back.”
Aly’s been determined since the day she was born according to mom. Her strategy has been to concentrate on improving her technique and increasing her speed with experience. In 2006, Aly became a member of the U.S. Junior World Short Track Team, where she established a new 500-meter record. After winning several American Cups in 2007, Aly, just 17 and still in high school, was invited to the U.S. Speedskating Short Track team in Salt Lake City.
In 2008, Aly became the top-ranked U.S. woman in the 500-meter event and holder of the Junior American record. Since then, she has competed on World Cup and World Teams, representing the U.S. in competitions around the world. .
Aly is working to overcome the pressure and distractions at the Winter Games by visualizing herself in the rink and trying to get comfortable there. “With every race I learn and I carry that to the next race. That is giving me better results.”
Off the track has been a growing experience for Aly as well. Separated from her family to join the U.S. Team in Salt Lake, Aly has discovered she’s a “foodie” and loves cooking. She’s a pretty good negotiator when it comes to buying a car, and is Wisconsin proud. Next to speed skating, Aly is passionate about the Green Bay Packers and teammate Donald Driver. She loves the movies, reading books and writing. When she’s able to steal a few weekends to head home to Hales Corners, Aly loves taking the family dog, Miller, to the park and dining out at local eateries Mia Famiglia and Ann’s Restaurant. Aly is a proud alumna of Divine Savior Holy Angels High School in Milwaukee.
Her hometown of Hales Corners, Wisconsin recently opened the Alyson Dudek International Ice Center in her honor allowing others in the community to skate on an Olympic size outdoor rink for free.
Family is where Aly finds her strength. She has two sisters, Maddie and Carolyn. Her dad, Rob, is an attorney with Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan LLP in Milwaukee, and her mom is a third grade teacher. They visit Salt Lake frequently and attend most of Aly’s competitions in the U.S.
“We’re very proud of her,” says Mary Dudek. “She’s done a lot on her own and kept focused. We’ve never talked about the Olympics with Aly. That’s not what got her here. She just loves doing it. How she handles the pressure and being a fair competitor says a lot about her character.”