Noelle Pikus-Pace

Noelle Pikus-Pace wins skeleton World Cup in Lake Placid

Leave a comment

Noelle Pikus-Pace was untouchable again, cruising to victory in a World Cup skeleton race in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Friday.

The American won in a two-run time of 1 minute, 51.37 seconds, beating Germany’s Anja Huber by .46 of a second. Great Britain’s Lizzy Yarnold was third. American Katie Uhlaender was 14th.

“In training, I was not doing so hot, so I just took a day off yesterday to really just kind of visualize what I needed to do,” Pikus-Pace said. “I’ve been down this track a lot, so just being able to put it together once piece at a time. It came together today, so I’m really happy with it.”

Pikus-Pace, 31, was also the fastest woman in the previous two races this season in Calgary, Alberta, and Park City, Utah. She was disqualified after winning in Calgary for illegal tape on her sled. She came back in Park City to break the track record — twice — and win by a dominant .68 of a second.

She is the 2007 world champion who finished fourth at the 2010 Olympics and second at the World Championships in February. She briefly retired after the Olympics and had a baby boy.

The last woman to win three straight World Cup races was Uhlaender, who won the first four to start the 2006-07 season.

Uhlaender, recovering from a preseason concussion, hasn’t finished better than 13th in three World Cups. She won the 2012 world title and was third in the World Cup standings last season.

A second women’s skeleton race will go in Lake Placid on Sunday. Universal Sports will have coverage.

Lake Placid Skeleton Race 1
1. Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) 1:51.37
2. Anja Huber (GER) 1:51.83
3. Lizzy Yarnold (GBR) 1:51.88
14. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 1:52.79

Holcomb stays perfect in Lake Placid

Chloe Kim lands back-to-back 1080s, scores perfect 100 (video)

Leave a comment

Chloe Kim notched arguably the most impressive feat of her young snowboarding career, becoming the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s and scoring a perfect 100 at the U.S. Grand Prix in Park City, Utah, on Saturday.

Kim, 15 and the two-time reigning Winter X Games champion, may have become the second rider to ever score 100 in a top-level halfpipe contest.

When Shaun White scored the first 100 in X Games history in 2012, “it was the first perfect score and perfect run ever seen in a halfpipe contest,” according to the Denver Post. In that run, White reportedly became the first rider to land back-to-back double cork 1260s.

Nobody has scored 100 in an X Games or the Olympics since. The 100-point scoring system was first used at the Olympics in 2014.

Like White, Kim’s perfect run came on a “victory lap,” after she had already clinched the win in an earlier run.

After Kim finished her run, three-time Olympic medalist Kelly Clark raised Kim’s left arm. When the 100-point score came up, Clark receded and allowed Kim to soak in the moment.

Clark, who is 17 years older than Kim, became the first woman to land a 1080 in 2011.

Kim, who was too young for the Sochi 2014 Olympics, is slated to compete in the Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway, later this month.

MORE: Shaun White misses X Games, plans another competition

Adam Rippon has quads, Boston, special T-shirt in sight

Leave a comment

NEW YORK — Adam Rippon hopes to bring more quadruple jumps and a special T-shirt to the World Figure Skating Championships in Boston next month.

Rippon, who won his first U.S. title two weeks ago, pulled out of the Four Continents Championships in two weeks, a Worlds tune-up event, in part to bolster the option in training of making major changes to his programs.

He will possibly add a quadruple toe loop and a quadruple Salchow to his quadruple Lutz, the hardest four-revolution jump being attempted.

“I’d be adding one [quad] to the short [program] and, ideally, I would love to add another one or two to the free skate,” Rippon said at the Winter Carnival at Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park in Manhattan on Friday night. “I have eight weeks, so I’ll see what I can get done.”

In his two Grand Prix series starts and the U.S. Championships this season, Rippon attempted a combined four quadruple jumps over six programs, all Lutzes, and fell each time. Three times, judges downgraded the jump. Once, at Nationals, it was under-rotated.

Rippon captured his first Nationals crown in his eighth attempt on the strength of his spins, footwork and overall performance.

But, as is the case in skating these days, focus centered on the jumps. Rippon attempted one quad over two programs at Nationals, a free skate quad Lutz, while second-place Max Aaron landed three quads overall and third-place Nathan Chen put down six.

Afterward, an emotional Rippon told NBC’s Andrea Joyce, “I’m like a witch, and you can’t kill me.”

His costume designer gave Rippon a T-shirt with the phrase printed on the front, and the skater plans to bring it to Worlds in Boston next month.

Rippon, the only man to win two World Junior titles (in 2008 and 2009), finished sixth, 13th and eighth in his three previous senior Worlds appearances.

“My goal is to skate my best, and I feel that if I skate my best, a good result will follow,” Rippon said. “I can’t control the results.”

Rippon, along with Aaron and U.S. fourth-place finisher Grant Hochstein, will hope to skate well enough to keep three spots for the U.S. men at the 2017 World Championships.

To do that, the placements of the top two Americans must add up to no more than 13 (such as Jason Brown‘s fourth and Rippon’s eighth last year).

The 2014 U.S. champion Brown and 16-year-old phenom Chen are out with injuries, putting onus on Rippon to lead the way.

“I’m confident that I can pull my own weight and do my own share,” he said.

In Boston, Rippon will return to the scene of the worst U.S. Championships performance of his career — in 2014, when Rippon entered with a shot of making the two-man Sochi Olympic team, finished eighth and considered quitting at age 24.

He recently spoke with two champion U.S. skaters about competing at Worlds on home ice — Evan Lysacek, gold medalist in Los Angeles in 2009, and Michelle Kwan, gold medalist in Minneapolis in 1998 and Washington, D.C., in 2003.

“I’m ready to go back to the TD Garden and rip it up,” Rippon said.

MORE: Nathan Chen to miss Worlds after exhibition injury

STOP EVERYTHING WE ALL NEED THIS ❤️🕸🔮

A photo posted by Adam Rippon (@adaripp) on