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By June, the former multisport star at Mountain View High School and Utah Valley University committed to returning to her sport, and began getting back into shape and raising money to finance the operation.
It costs a lot to race all over the world, and even more when your husband and two kids are tagging along.
World Cup bobsled and skeleton
At the Utah Olympic Park
9 a.m. » Women’s skeleton
1 p.m. » Two-man bobsled
5 p.m. » Women’s bobsled
9 a.m. » Men’s skeleton
1 p.m. » Four-man bobsled
Follow Noelle Pikus-Pace as she aims to reach the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia, on her website, NoellePikusPace.com. Fans can track her progress, watch videos of her training and donate money to her endeavor.
"My one stipulation was we would do it as a family," Pikus-Pace said. "I said, ‘There’s no way I’m leaving you guys for long periods of time anymore. I’m done.’ I never stopped loving the sport of skeleton, I just couldn’t be away from my family anymore."
So it really has become a family thing for the Paces.
Janson Pace built and maintains the sled that Pikus-Pace uses in competition. Noelle does the training and the racing. And soon-to-be-5-year-old Lacee Lynn plays a starring role in a video on Pikus-Pace’s website, urging fans to donate money to help them all travel the world and make it to Sochi.
"I really want my mommy to go to the Olympics," Lacee says. "But she needs your help."
Pikus-Pace figures she needs at least $130,000 to go the distance, and won’t continue if the money runs out.
Barring that, however, she plans to compete in a handful of World Cup races this season in Canada, Germany, France and Austria — the family won’t be home until almost March — and hopefully reach the world championships in Switzerland before really gearing up for the Olympic season.
"She really wants a gold medal," Lacee whispers theatrically into the camera during the video.
Of course, that’s nothing Pikus-Pace will talk about directly, just yet.
She knows better than that, having missed the 2006 Turin Olympics in Italy after a runaway bobsled shattered her leg, ruining her shot at gold as the reigning world silver medalist. She did win all four national trials races last month, though, as well as her first two America’s Cup races last weekend in Park City.
She’s in tremendous shape, too. Best of her career, she said.
"I will be competing to win" if she reaches the Olympics again, Pikus-Pace acknowledged. "At the same time, though, you have to get there."
For Pikus-Pace and her family, that could really be the fun part.
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