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Alyson Dudek is a speed skating athlete competing at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Wisconsin native Alyson Dudek will make her Olympic debut in the 500m and 3000m relay. She earned the top spot in the 500m by winning the four-lap time trial and the first of two 500m races at Olympic trials in September 2009. She took silver in the second 500m but had earned enough points to keep the No. 1 ranking. Competing in her first Olympic trials, Dudek says she was able to skate well by staying as calm as possible. "I didn't want to get myself too worked up," she said. "I was thinking, just skate how I always do and I'll be fine."

Growing up outside Milwaukee, Dudek and her family used to go skating for fun at the Pettit Center, which is the home of a national training center. Even as a young child, Dudek love to skate fast—which she managed to do even on rental skates. Her mom took notice, and when she saw a flier for the local speed skating club, she signed Alyson up at about age 6. "Of course I was like, 'Yeah I want to try it,'" Dudek says. "I've loved it ever since." Though she played other sports, including softball, track and even long track skating, her passion was always for short track.

At about 14 years old, Dudek quit the other sports to focus on short track. It wasn't long before the decision paid off. She qualified for her first World Cup team in fall 2006 and was invited to join the national team in Salt Lake City in 2007. Dudek hadn't finished high school yet but decided to move at the urging of her coach in Milwaukee, former skater Tony Goskowicz. Arriving in Salt Lake in November 2007, Dudek finished high school through online correspondence and lived on her own for the first time.

Her family frequently visits Salt Lake and attends most meets in North America. Dudek has two sisters, Maddie, 22, and Carolyn, 15. Both tried skating but didn't stick with it; Maddie excelled in school, and Carolyn is a talented softball player. Her father, Rob, is an attorney, and her mother, Mary, is a third-grade teacher. Her mother taught her how to cook, which Dudek enjoys doing, and gave her a book of recipes to try on her own. Dudek tries to return home several times a year, even if it's just for a weekend.

Since Vancouver will be Dudek's first Olympics, she has consulted some of the veterans on the team about what to expect, including 2006 Olympians Allison Baver and Kimberly Derrick. "They just say it's so much different than anything I would have ever been to" she said. "And it's just a lot of fun, they said. It's hectic but a really, really good experience."


ALYSON DUDEK: FACTS

How tall is Alyson Dudek? How old is Alyson Dudek? Where does Alyson Dudek live? Find out here.

Age: 24 years old
Birthday: July 30, 1990
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 125 lbs.
Current Residence: Hales Corners, WI





Shaun White and Scotty Lago Half of All Americans Watch First 7 Days of Vancouver 2010 Games — Over its first week, 152 million Americans have tuned in to watch the Olympics, with an average audience of 26.6 million for the first seven nights, nearly 6 million more and 27% higher than 2006. Read more...
Hannah Kearney 97 Million Watch First 2 Days of Vancouver Games — 55 million total viewers and 26.2 million average audience for Saturday night is higher than every single night of the Torino games. Read more...
Lindsey Vonn Most-Watched Opening Ceremony Ever for Non-USA Winter Olympics — 67.5 million viewers watched opening ceremony on NBC; 17 million more than Torino and nearly 6 million more than tabloid-fueled Lillehammer Games in '94. Read more...

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