Dudek's road to Sochi - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Dudek's road to Sochi


HALES CORNERS, Wis. (KTTC) -- After winning the bronze medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, then 19-year-old Aly Dudek had achieved what most teenage athletes only dream about. After spending some time with her parents, and seeing how Aly got to where she is today, it's clear that in Sochi, she is back for the gold.

"Obviously, every time you step out on the ice, you're going out there to win, and so naturally, her goal is to win," says Mary Dudek, mother of the Olympic athlete.

Before Olympic medalist, Alyson Dudek, or as those close to her call her, Aly, became a super star short track speed skater, she was a little girl, with big dreams.

Her high goals began at home in Hales Corners just outside Milwaukee. Her parents, Mary and Rob Dudek, say once she finished her first meet, there was no turning back.

"She didn't win, but she stayed on her feet, and afterwards she said, Oh! That was so much fun, when's the next one?" says Mary.

They say the rest is history.

As she continued to grow, so did her drive to succeed. At age 17, Aly packed her bags and moved to Salt Lake City, Utah to train with some of the best skaters and trainers in the world. It marked a turning point for parents Mary and Rob.

"They're adults now, they know exactly what they need to do. You know, and everything, so you're just there to support is basically what you are whether they win, whether they lose," says Rob, Aly's father.

Since then, Aly has risen to the top, with a bronze medal in the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.

"I'll just never forget the medal ceremony," says Mary. "I just, it was amazing, it was just such a proud moment."

Aly hasn't seen it yet, but Hales Corners has even dedicated a local ice rink in her name. All the triumph and excitement still brings her parents back to the Pettit National Ice Center where Aly trained as a child.

"Where's Aly? Who knows? She's just going like crazy as fast as those little legs would take her," says Mary.

It is now a place where her face hangs amongst skating legends like Eric Heiden and Bonnie Blair. Her banner is now a source of inspiration to young skaters like Sydney Holmes, who also has her eyes on those iconic five rings.

"I was wishing for her in the Olympics," says 14-year-old Holmes. "I was cheering her on from the television so--we were really happy when she made it."

At 23, Aly is still chasing her dreams, as she takes to the ice in Sochi and represents Team USA.

"I think she's gonna nail it," Mary says.

Aly will be competing in the Ladies 500 and 1500 meter heats. Those races kick off on Feb. 10.

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