Becoming an Olympian is quite the accomplishment but there is much more to being an athlete then making it to the top of the podium. What you do on your way to the podium is just as important, both on and off the ice. Alyson Dudek, a short track speedskater, trained hard and earned a bronze medal in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics as part of the Women’s short track 3000m relay race. But it’s also what she has done off the ice that makes her such an inspiring athlete. As her mom Mary Dudek said, “How she handles the pressure and being a fair competitor says a lot about her character.”
Aly raced in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in the 500m and 1500m races. With five days between Aly’s races, she was able to find time to cheer on her fellow Team USA athletes. She got the opportunity to attend events including long track speedskating and luge to cheer in person for her fellow Team USA athletes. She also continued to cheer on her teammates via social media including the rest of her short track Speedskating teammates and the USA bobsled team. She said, “It’s really nice to cheer on our teammates that are outside short track.”
Outside of training for the Olympics, racing and cheering on her fellow teammates and opponents, Aly is also involved in the community. She has chosen anti-bullying as her charitable platform and visits schools in her community to spread the message that “nice is cool.” Building awareness for this platform is very important to Aly. She said, “Not just as an athlete, but as a human being, I am making a choice to leave the world a better place than I found it.”
Youth sports allows parents the opportunity to teach life lessons. Being a good sport, respecting your opponents and doing the right thing are just a few of the lessons an athlete can learn along the way. Sports should teach our children what we mean by a true team player – someone who contributes 100%, and at the same time cooperates and collaborates with teammates to help bring out their best, too. After a practice or race, talk about examples that may be educational and teach them a new lesson. It’s these moments that will help shape you child as a person.
Just as parents can teach their athletes to do the right thing both on and off the ice, Liberty Mutual Insurance is committed to always doing the right thing for their customers. And in addition to helping families with their auto, home and life insurance needs, Liberty Mutual has also created a program called Responsible Sports to provide free resources, tools, and advice to youth sport parents and coaches. We invite you to learn more about Responsible Sports, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and to join Aly in cheering on Team USA.
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Making it to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as a Team USA athlete requires the ability to come back time and again, with extraordinary discipline, determination, and the help of coaches, friends, family and fellow athletes. At Liberty Mutual, we help our personal and business customers come back every day, whether from minor accidents or major catastrophes, to help make sure they can continue the journeys they’re on.