Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Winner Noelle Pikus-Pace of the U.S.A. looks on during the women's Bob event at the FIBT Bob & Skeleton World Cup 2013, in Krasnaya Polyana resort, east of Sochi, Russia, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)
Utah’s Noelle Pikus-Pace wins World Cup skeleton finale on 2014 Olympic track
First Published Feb 16 2013 09:30 am • Last Updated Feb 17 2013 12:05 am

In what she hopes is a sign of things to come, Utah’s Noelle Pikus-Pace led a 1-2 American finish Saturday in a season-ending World Cup women’s skeleton race on the track that will be used for the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia next year.

"I can’t believe it," Pikus-Pace said. "I’m going to take this all in now, but I know next year will be a different story.  I have to wipe the slate clean and give it my best, and hopefully my best will be better than everyone else’s so I’m back on the podium a year from now."

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

It was the second victory of the season for Pikus-Pace, who amazingly has medaled in five of the past six World Cup races in her first year back in competition after a 2 ½-year retirement.

Two-time Olympian Katie Uhlaender of Colorado finished second.

An Orem native and Eagle Mountain resident, the 30-year-old Pikus-Pace finished fourth at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics in Canada, then retired to raise her two children. But she decided to make a comeback this season, with her husband and kids traveling with her around Europe on the World Cup circuit.

She has made herself one of the favorites to win gold next year in Sochi, and blazed through her second run in Ryzhanaya Polyana on Saturday to overtake Uhlaender with a two-run combined time of 1 minutes, 58.91 seconds - 0.11 seconds faster than her teammate.

"This is such an exciting moment," Pikus-Pace said. "Katie and I on the podium together shows how strong we are going into the Olympic season, and a lot of that can be attributed to a great coaching staff and amazing support. This definitely gives me confidence going into next season and I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do a year from now."

Uhlaender had the fastest time of the first run while Pikus-Pace made some driving mistakes, but Pikus-Pace turned things around in the second run. She had the fastest time in the field, while Uhlaender lost time with a mistake in one of the corners.

"I missed my drive in corner 11 and I knew it would be tough to catch Noelle after that," Uhlaender said.  "I’m really pumped though, because USA finished one-two.  I want to leave something in the tank for next year, and the next fastest person is my teammate.  We work really well together, and I think we’re going to really challenge our competitors when we’re back next season for the Olympics."

Germany’s Anja Huber finished third in 1:59.78, a distant 0.87 behind Pikus-Pace.

story continues below
story continues below

Park City’s Steven Holcomb finished a disappointing 12th in the two-man bobsled race later Saturday, marking the fifth time in six races (all in Europe) that the former world champion has missed the podium after winning the first three races of the season in North America.

Switzerland’s Beat Hefti won the race in 1:53.76 - a whopping 1.20 seconds ahead of Holcomb, who failed to defend both his two-man and four-man world championships earlier this season. He’s expected to race in the four-man competition in Russia on Sunday.

"Today was tough," Holcomb said. "I drove well, but we weren’t fast. While we didn’t win, we did learn what not to do, which is a victory in itself."


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.