ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Valentino Rudolph

Rudolph recently won the 400-meter event at the state championship for the first time with a time of 47.40.

Valentino Rudolph
Valentino Rudolph
Photo by Andrea Mujica
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West Orange High School graduate Valentino Rudolph recently won the 400-meter event at the state championship for the first time with a time of 47.40. Last year, Rudolph won the 100-meter event with a time of 10:40. He received a full-ride scholarship to attend Florida A&M University, where he will major in business and compete on the track team. 

How do you feel about becoming state champion for the 400-meter event? 
My coach told me I was going to win it. I believed it, but I don’t really run that event, so I wanted to see how far I could go. So, when I won it, it was really shocking. 

Tell us about your years as a track athlete.
I just started my freshman year. I played football and my coach told me I was fast so I should try track. When I tried it, I was very good at it and I stayed with it. Then, that became my main sport. 

What do you love most about track as a sport?
I like my teammates and my friends. You get to meet new people who get to cheer you on. I love winning, too, but my teammates pushed me to keep being here.

What do you believe track has taught you not only on the track but also off it? 
It’s taught me that if you don’t work hard for something, you are not really going to get it. There was a time I tried to only use my talent. But I would run races, and I would lose, so I had to work hard to win races, because talent eventually runs out. 

Do you have a favorite drill at practice? 
I love doing “Repeat 100s.” That’s when you get fast. I love doing those; I love getting faster. 

What do you think makes you a unique runner on the track? 
The fact that I can run any event. You can put me in the 100-meter, 200-meter or 400-meter, I can run any relay. Most runners, they want to run one event or maybe two. Mostly, they just want to run relays. But me? You can put me in anything, and I run it. 

How do you believe you instill leadership in your team? 
I don’t always speak up, but the team respects me because I’m (one of the faster athletes) on the team, and often if they don’t listen to coach … I’ll speak up and they’ll listen. 

What do you love most about your team? 
We are like a family. We don’t just do track together. We go to the movies, we go eat, we check on each other, make sure we are OK. … Even when I’m running, I know my team is cheering me on; they are in my corner. 

What are you going to miss most about running with the Warriors? 
Running at West Orange feels like home to me. I’m going to miss my coach a lot, and I’m going to miss my teammates. 

What is your favorite hobbies? 
I like to play video games — Madden or Fortnite — and relax, or spend time with family. 

What are three things you would take with you to a deserted island? 
A book, a ball to play with and a board game. 

What is your favorite movie? 
Any one of the Fast and Furious movies, or any Marvel movie — I could watch Marvel movies all day. 

Favorite type of music? 
If I’m chilling, I listen to R&B. But if I’m working out, I just listen to rap music to get me pumped. 

Who is your favorite superhero? Why? 
Growing up, I liked Spider-Man. He was a teenager, so I could relate to him. 

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why? 
Probably super speed or time travel. 

What are three places you’d like to visit? Why? 
Jamaica, because I’ve seen pictures of it, and it looks beautiful. Chicago, because it’s a big city, and Los Angeles. 

If you could go back in time to a specific period of history, which one would it be and why?
If it was just one time I would probably go back in time and try to win some money (like in the movie “Back to the Future”), or to one of my favorite football games and play that game because I will never play football again. 

What color would you say represents your personality? 
Red. It’s bright but not super bright that catches your eye. I wear red a lot. 

If you could be an animal for a day, which one would you be and why? 
A monkey, it’s kind of like people but it can’t talk. They can walk and do things and interact with people. They are funny. 



Andrea Mujica

Staff writer Andrea Mujica covers sports, news and features. She holds both a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Central Florida. When she’s not on the sidelines, you can find Andrea coaching rowers at the Orlando Area Rowing Society in Windermere.

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