Olympic Athletes >> Noelle Pikus-Pace

Skeleton

Noelle Pikus-Pace

Age

31

Date of Birth

Dec. 8, 1982

Highlights

The gold-medal favorite entering the 2006 Olympic season, Pikus-Paces hopes were derailed when a bobsled crashed into _ and shattered _ her right leg in a training accident. She wound up competing for part of that season even though her leg wasnt fully healed, just missing out on a desperate bid to qualify for the Turin Games. She returned to win the world championship in 2007 and was fourth at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, which she said would be her final race. Two years later, she un-retired for one more chance at the Olympics, and played a key role in helping the U.S. win gold in the team competition at the 2013 world championships. Pikus-Pace was the dominant slider on the womens World Cup circuit in the second half of last season, which she capped with a win on the track that will be used for the sliding events at the Sochi Games.

Runup

She finished 11th in last seasons World Cup standings, which are wildly deceiving. Because Pikus-Pace needed to qualify again for the World Cup circuit after her 2010 retirement, she was able to compete in only six of the nine races on the tour a year ago, missing both events on her "home" tracks in Lake Placid, N.Y. and Park City, Utah. She finished no worse than third in five of the six events, with an average finish of 2.7. Pikus-Pace won the silver medal at last seasons world championships, and started this season by sweeping all four races in the U.S. team selection series by an average victory margin of more than one-half of second, a huge gap in a sport like skeleton.

Prediction

Pikus-Pace will be a medal favorite, quite possibly for gold.

Things To Know

  • Pikus-Pace insists that her husband and two children travel with her on tour. If that wasnt possible, she would have stayed retired.
  • She makes and sells winter hats as a side job.
  • Her love of chocolate is legendary: She once kept a large Hersheys bar on her sled.

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