Winter sports: Utahn Pikus-Pace wins bronze in World Cup skeleton race
Skeleton slider Noelle Pikus-Pace won a bronze medal on Friday in her first World Cup race since returning to her sport following a 21/2-year retirement, finishing behind Great Britain's Shelley Rudman and Germany's Anja Huber in Winterberg, Germany the site of her first-ever World Cup medal eight years ago.
"I'm thrilled to be back in the medals," the Orem native and Eagle Mountain resident said. "After team trials I knew where I was situated, and I started to set my sights high. I feel better than ever, and it's so great to be sharing this experience with my family this time around."
Just six months after deciding to return, Pikus-Pace has raised enough money to have her husband and two small children travel with her on the World Cup circuit her personal requirement to return to the harrowing, head-first-and-face-down sliding sport in which she finished fourth at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
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Tina Maze of Slovenia won her third race of the season by finishing first in both runs of a World Cup super-combined event Friday in St. Moritz, Switzerland, while Lindsey Vonn failed to finish.
Vonn, a part-time Park City resident, was fourth in the Super-G but lost control of a ski during an early turn in her slalom run and failed to finish.
Julia Mancuso of the United States was fifth after the Super-G, but slipped to 11th after posting the 23rd-fastest time in the slalom.
Two-time Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir is skipping the rest of the season to prepare for the 2014 Winter Games.
The three-time U.S. champion did not compete for two years after the 2010 Olympics but announced a comeback last January. He withdrew from a Moscow tournament in November after the short program. He finished fourth at a competition in Finland to start the season.
• Mao Asada took the lead after the short program at the Grand Prix Final in Sochi, Russia, on Friday, edging ahead of Ashley Wagner of the U.S. by half a point, with Akiko Suzuki close behind in third.
Omar Visintin of Italy won the season-opening men's World Cup snowboard cross in Montafon, Austria, for his first career victory.
A former junior world champion, Visintin beat Markus Schainer of Austria, Nick Baumgartner of the United States and Alex Pullin of Australia in the final.