Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Winner Noelle Pikus-Pace from the United States celebrates after the women's Skeleton World Cup race in Koenigssee, Germany, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Utah’s Pikus-Pace wins first World Cup skeleton race since 2004
Winter sports » Orem native Pikus-Pace caps return from 21/2-year retirement with victory.
First Published Jan 11 2013 01:27 pm • Last Updated May 05 2013 11:32 pm

Utah’s Noelle Pikus-Pace won a World Cup skeleton race for the first time in more than eight years on Friday, racing to gold on one of her favorite tracks in Germany and assuring that she’s back on top after returning from a 21/2-year retirement.

The Orem native and Eagle Mountain resident had not won on the World Cup circuit since Dec. 18, 2004 — early in the season in which she won the overall World Cup title.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"It’s been so long since I’ve won a World Cup race that I’m having a tough time accepting it," Pikus-Pace said.  "It seems surreal. One of my regrets looking back was that I didn’t enjoy the moment enough when I was winning. So I’m going to let myself enjoy this win for the weekend before looking ahead to the next race."

Pikus-Pace clocked a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 47.51 seconds Friday, blazing down the course in Koenigssee so fast on her second run that she went from trailing Canada’s Sarah Reid by 0.03 seconds to blitzing the field by a whopping 0.41 seconds.

Germany’s Marion Thees vaulted to second place in 1:47.92, while teammate Anja Huber was third in 1:48.03.

The 30-year-old Pikus-Pace returned to the World Cup circuit this season, after taking time off to raise two children with her husband. With the help of sponsors and donors, the entire family has been traveling around Europe this season as Pikus-Pace chases her dream of winning a medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia. She already has earned two bronze medals this season.

"It felt incredible" to win, she said. "It was so good to hear the national anthem played, especially on foreign soil. It’s all coming together, and I can’t thank our supporters enough for helping us make this happen — the coaches, our family, our friends, everyone. I am so much more relaxed this season than ever before because of their help."

Pikus-Pace was a favorite to win gold at the 2006 Turin Olympics, but suffered a broken leg when she was hit by a runaway bobsled only about four months before the Games began, and she was not able to qualify. Four years later, she finished a disappointing fourth at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics in Canada, before announcing her retirement.

Her victory Friday also means Pikus-Pace has a shot at winning the new "Triple Trophy," which will be awarded — along with 100,000 Euros, or about $133,000 — to any athlete who wins the World Cup races this season in Koenigssee; Igls, Austria; and Sochi. The Igls race is Jan. 18, and the season-ending Sochi race is Feb. 15.

 "It’s insane," Pikus-Pace said. "I didn’t even know about the trophy until after I won and someone mentioned it. I honestly don’t want to think about it.  I just need to take it one curve at a time, and one race at a time."

story continues below
story continues below

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.