Sochi Olympics' Noelle Pikus-Pace: Skeleton Slider Makes Olympics a Family Affair
Noelle Pikus-Pace is headed to the Olympics for the second time, and bringing her good luck charms along for the ride. Team USA's Pikus-Pace, a skeleton slider, has her biggest fans — her husband and two children — by her side as she competes for the gold at Sochi. She's overcome difficult hurdles to get to 2014's Olympic games, including a freak accident and a devastating loss by just one-tenth of a second.
Pikus-Pace, a Utah native, won five medals at the FIBT World Championships in skeleton racing. The Olympic Trials in 2005 was a huge blow to her athletic career after a runaway, four-man bobsled careened from the track and hit her. She fractured her right leg and was unable to compete in the 2006 Winter Olympics. Pikus-Pace took some time off to recuperate, finishing her education, opening her own hat business, and starting a family. In 2009, she came back to compete with unparalleled vigor.
Can we just go over that one more time? She got her master's in business administration, started her own company, had a baby, all while training for the Olympics. What can't this woman do? Pikus-Pace competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics on a sled her husband built. Unfortunately, she missed a medal by one-tenth of a second, coming in at fourth place.
She retired after the 2010 games and had another child. With a growing family, she still wanted to make her Olympic dreams come true, and she wanted them to be there.
It isn't exactly the cheapest of family vacations, either. Financing an Olympic bid comes out to nearly $60,000 per World Cup season. But balancing a family and all the hard work that comes with skeleton racing is worth it, regardless of the stress it can bring. Her five-year-old daughter is following in her footsteps, having just completed her first skeleton run in January.
"I can do this,” Pikus-Pace said. “This is nothing. I just cleaned up a bowl of corn pops and then I changed a poopy diaper and now I’m running out the door.”