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Make Some Noise

Motocross racer Ashely Fiolek has been deaf since birth. But that hasn’t stopped her from pursuing her dreams.


Motocross racer Ashley Fiolek is a firm believer that anything is possible. As a competitor in a sport that’s extremely predicated upon sound, it’s hard to believe that she’s been deaf since birth. But as a three-time AMA Women’s Motocross champion with two X Games gold medals under her belt, her disability certainly hasn’t hindered her riding abilities. “My family was always very supportive of me,” says Fiolek, who races for Honda and Red Bull. “I found something that I loved to do, so they were just behind me 100 percent.”

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Fiolek’s interest in the sport ignited when she was about three years old. Her father, a former racer, took her to a Supercross race and the rest was history.  “I just fell in love with it!” she recalls.

A combination of the 21-year-old’s aptitude and affinity for the sport has ultimately fueled her career. In 2008, she became the youngest WMA champion in history when she defeated five-time champion Jessica Patterson. The following year, she earned her first gold medal at X Games 15 and went on to win her second in 2010.


Overcoming obstacles is definitely a key theme for Fiolek. She was unable to compete in the past two X Games due to injury, but she still managed to bounce back. Her most recent ailment didn’t stop her from placing first at this year’s Red Bull RedBud National race in July. “I had to sit out of [the] X Games again because of a concussion that I suffered at the beginning of June,” says Fiolek. “I got back on the bike a couple of days after the X Games ended to see if I could race Red Bud, and my symptoms were gone! I was pretty stoked that I was able to ride.”


Fiolek’s also garnered a significant media presence over the past few months. In addition to appearing in a Red Bull commercial last year, she was featured in the April 2012 issue of Vogue and she appeared on "Conan" two months later with her dad as her interpreter.  She will also star in a few episodes of ABC Family’s drama “Switched at Birth” this fall. But despite her rising celebrity status, she still finds time to enjoy activities typical of a twenty-something — including traveling, hanging out with friends and eating.

In spite of her remarkable list of achievements, Fiolek says that the most rewarding part of racing has been her ability to give back. She serves on the board of the Women’s Sports Foundation and has taken part in a few inspirational tours. She also acts as an advocate for the deaf community by visiting deaf schools and encouraging students to believe in themselves. “Taking time for my fans and doing things to help other people out… is what I like the best,” she says.


As a driven and talented young rider, it seems that this is only the beginning for Fiolek. As she continues to gain momentum in the motocross world and the media, perhaps she’ll inspire more young riders to pursue their dreams. “I think if you want to ride and become a pro, you should never give up and always believe in yourself.”  

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