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Some simple advice

Canyon High grad and Olympian answers questions, signs autographs at mall

Posted: December 27, 2013 6:20 p.m.
Updated: December 27, 2013 6:20 p.m.

Christine Hupalo takes a picture of her daughter, Ekaterina Hupalo, with five-time U.S. National Champion and 2012 Olympian Alysia Montano at the Westfield Valencia Town Center on Friday. Signal photo by Charlie Kaijo

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U.S. track and field athlete Alysia Montaño has some simple words for any kids who ask her for advice.

“At the end of the day it’s the journey that will mark you as a champion,” the former Canyon High School track star said Friday during an autograph signing at the Westfield Valencia Town Center.

A steady stream of people was drawn to meet Montaño, a 2012 Olympian and the reigning U.S. champion in the 800-meter track race.

Montaño said the event was meant to be a way for her to give back to the community where she made her home.

“I want to give back to the community that gave so much to me,” she said.

Montaño’s ties to the Santa Clarita Valley run deep, including all four years of high school at Canyon, where she won a state championship in the 800 meters in 2004.

In recent years, the track standout has made a name for herself far outside the familiar confines of the Santa Clarita Valley, including a fifth-place finish in the 800-meter finals at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

She carried the momentum of her Olympic performance over to this year, winning her fifth career U.S. 800-meter title in June and placing fourth at the world championships in Moscow in the same event.

Friday’s autograph-signing was anything but a simple grip-and-grin. Montaño took time to talk to everyone who approached her, answering questions like what the Olympics are for some youngsters.

“You guys can do whatever you want to, so long as you work for it,” she told a group of young girls.

She said she added words of encouragement to many of the autographs she signed.

“My life philosophy has been to be bold and courageous, so I’ve been writing that a lot,” she said.

Tom Miller, the general manager of Westfield Valencia Town Center, said the mall was happy to host the local Olympian.

“We certainly like to be involved in the community whenever we can,” he said.

Montaño lives in Berkeley with her husband, Louis. The two have been married for nearly three years.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney



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