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Deaf People:  Fiolek, Ashley


By: Matthew Foster
3/22/2013



ASHLEY FIOLEK


Ashley Fiolek was born October, 22, 1990 in Dearborn Michigan.

 

In 1998, when she was 8 years old, her family moved to St. Augustine Florida so Ashley could attend the “Florida School for the Deaf and Blind” (FSDB) -- at the time the largest school of this type (ESPN, 2013).  At FSDB Ashley studied ballet, played basketball and ran track. After she completed the 8th grade her parents decided to homeschool Ashley.

 

Early on in her life she was around the motocross atmosphere. When she was very young she used to ride on the front of her mom’s four-wheeler or her dad's bike. At the age of three her parents bought her a Yamaha PW50, a very basic beginner’s bike suitable for young children. She did not ride the bike very often, as she would have trouble riding it with the training wheels, and she preferred to ride with her parents.

Ashley began her racing career at age 7, which was when she first entered the amateur racing circuit. In 2008 at the age of 18 she made her pro debut in the AMA/WMA (American Motocross Association/Women’s Motocross Association).  Not only was this her rookie season, but she won the title that year. Even fracturing her wrist mid-season didn’t slow her down -- she won 4 of the 6 events she raced in that season. Ashley also went on to win the next season in 2009, then again a few years later in 2011. In 2009, and 2010 she also won the gold medal at the XGames -- a very prestigious motor sports competition with some of the best motocross riders in the world.  Currently Ashley is working on becoming an actress as well as her fourth WMA title.

Ashley has dominated a sport in which sound and the ability to hear the bike -- so that you know when to shift -- is crucial.

What is amazing is that Ashley was born deaf.

Being deaf means that Ashley has had to rely on the vibrations and her feel for the bike so she knows when to shift. In an interview with About.com, she was asked if the issue of her deafness has ever come up with other racers. She responded that it has never came up among other racers, but it definitely comes with its disadvantages. She has to memorize her lines very well since she cannot hear the other drivers -- but at the same time it makes it nice not to hear them because then she doesn’t feel any pressure when she’s out front. No one has ever said anything and she has never caused a wreck. She would also eventually like to be one of the first girls to qualify for the "Boys National" (About, 2013).


References:

Ashleyfiolek.com. Redbull, 2013. Web. 22 Mar. 2013.

ESPN. "Ashley Fiolek Profile." ESPN.com. ESPN, 2013. Web. 22 Mar. 2013.

Wasef, Baseem. "Exclusive Q & A with Honda Red Bull Team Member Ashley Fiolek." About.com Motorcycles. About.com, 2013. Web. 22 Mar. 2013.

Jason, Gay. "Ashley Fiolek: Hear Me Roar." Vogue.com. Vogue, 02 Apr. 2012. Web. 22 Mar. 2013
 

 


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