Sochi, Russia • Skeleton slider Noelle Pikus-Pace took her first training runs of the Sochi Olympics on Monday, and the results weren’t pretty.
The gold-medal contender finished 11th and 13th in the two runs at the Sanki Sliding Center, well behind top rival Lizzy Yarnold of Great Britain, who won the first run and was fourth in the other. Part of the reason is a recurring back problem that has been bothering Pikus-Pace, leading the Orem native and Eagle Mountain resident to take it easy in training.
"These past couple of weeks have been a battle for her," coach Tuffy Latour told USA Today. "Her whole M.O. has been taking a couple of runs during training and getting ready for the race. We’re going with that same theme here, and we don’t want to put too much stress on her body."
Pikus-Pace and Yarnold split the victories in eight World Cup races this season, with Yarnold winning the overall World Cup title because Pikus-Pace was disqualified from a season-opening victory on account of an improper piece of tape on the handle of her sled. Pikus-Pace won the World Cup race on the Sochi track last year.
- Michael C. Lewis
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