“Could it really be six years ago,” wondered Aly Dudek aloud, “or just six minutes ago?” She is gliding around a patch of ice near her hometown of Hales Corners, Wisconsin, in a setting much calmer and quieter than the frenetic speed skating short track of the Vancouver Games in 2010 where she won a bronze medal in the 300 meter relay.
On her sixth lap—about the same number of laps she devoured in that great relay race—she slides past the finish line on one skate, and dips down to brush her fingers on the cold blue line that sparks a mix of just about every emotion possible in one moment. Her throat tightens and her eyes mist, but then she releases that famous broad smile.
“I’ve skated a million laps—literally—but I still choke up when I think about that blur of laps in Vancouver,” said this Shaklee Pure Performance Team member. “It was a realization of a dream that keeps on living, but in the best ways—in my everyday life.”
A little history:
Aly’s dream began while she watched the 1998 Nagano Games. She proclaimed to her mother that she would one day win a medal. The dream grew when 8-year-old Alyson found herself on the Petit National Ice Center in Wisconsin, being ushered around the oval on wobbly skates by none other than Casey FitzRandolph, an eventual gold medalist in speed skating. “It was one of the most inspirational moments of my life growing up,” she said. “Looking back I can see I was just ‘skating on thin ice,’ but I kept skating, lap after cold lap, and grew stronger both mentally and physically.”
Aly quickly moved up the skating ranks and made the 2010 US Team as a 19 year-old with several impressive victories along the way. “Fortunately,” she said, “I was probably too young to understand the magnitude of the moment, but it makes me realize that I’m in a ‘relay race’ of life that is just as big, and one that runs way past six laps . . . .”
After winning the medal in Vancouver, Aly continued to chase her skating dream and qualified for the 2014 Sochi Games, where she competed in the 500 meter and 1500 meter races. “No medal that time, but still a wonderful journey. Plus, I linked up with Shaklee before the Games and that has been a part of my dream as well,” she explained. “I’ve always been interested in health and fitness, and I’m proud to be a total ‘foodie’ with a special liking for fresh fruits and vegetables. I love Shaklee’s focus on a healthy lifestyle that includes the right foods, supplements, and fitness. I want to help others see how much happier you can feel and how much better you can be with good health. Shaklee’s products are all natural and they fit right in with my lifestyle.”
“I love new adventures”
Aly’s lifestyle includes daily workouts that would make most fitness buffs tremble, and this summer she’s leading expeditions for outdoor enthusiasts in Wyoming. She’s no stranger to long treks, as she and her boyfriend, two-time Winter Games medalist in bobsledding, Steve Langton, participated in Season 26 of The Amazing Race, which bounced them to all corners of the world. She also travels worldwide as one of Shaklee’s most recognizable spokespersons, speaking at various Shaklee conferences and Field events.
“I love new adventures,” said Aly, “even if it puts me back on that ‘thin ice.’ But my skating journey helped me know the value of hard work, and clutching onto my dreams helped me see past the obstacles, and leaning on great friends and family helped me feel the importance of working together through tough challenges.”
Never fear to fall
Aly pauses, releases that broad smile, asks a question: “Do you know the width of a skate blade? Only three millimeters. Reminds me that it’s not the ‘thin ice,’ that matters because we’ll all find our footing eventually. What matters is the sometimes-thin blades we dig into that ice to make us go.” Maybe her throat tightens and she mists up a bit: “Six laps, six years, six minutes, or six decades – whatever time you have, dig in, look forward, breath deep, push hard, and skate your leg of the relay race with no fear of falling.”
And with that broad smile, Aly pushed off onto the next lap . . . .
A special thank you to Aly Dudek, short-track speed skater and Bronze medal winner in the 3000-meter relay in the 2010 Vancouver Games, and Member of the Shaklee Pure Performance Team. Aly also has a passion to help others see how much happier they can feel and how much better they can be with good health and fitness.