Noelle Pikus-Pace

Noelle Pikus-Pace second to Lizzy Yarnold; daughter, 5, takes skeleton run

Leave a comment

Lizzy Yarnold edged Noelle Pikus-Pace in the latest installment in what’s become a head-to-head battle atop women’s skeleton in Igls, Austria, on Friday.

The Brit Yarnold won in a two-run time of 1 minute, 49.04 seconds. Pikus-Pace finished .32 behind, followed by a tie for third between Austrian Janine Flock and Russian Maria Orlova.

Igls marked the final event before the U.S. Olympic Team is slated to be named Saturday.

The team will include two women, and they will almost surely be Pikus-Pace and Katie Uhlaender, the same U.S. sliders from the Vancouver Olympics. Pikus-Pace was fourth in 2010; Uhlaender was 11th.

The race for gold in Sochi appears to be between Yarnold and Pikus-Pace with the retirement of 2010 Olympic champion Amy Williams of Great Britain.

Yarnold and Pikus-Pace have combined to win all seven World Cup races this season. Pikus-Pace had the fastest time in the first three World Cups (disqualified in the first one), while Yarnold has been the best in three of the last four.

“This has been such a fun battle, going back and forth every race,” Pikus-Pace said. “Well done to Lizzy.”

Uhlaender, the 2012 world champion, has a best finish of sixth this season while recovering from a concussion. She was 12th on Friday.

There is one more World Cup before the Olympics, next week in Konigssee, Germany.

In other news, Pikus-Pace’s daughter took her first skeleton run this week and another right after the race Friday, while Pikus-Pace was on the podium.

Lacee then spoke to the BBC. Give it a listen below the photo.

Igls Women’s Skeleton
1. Lizzy Yarnold (GBR) 1:49.04
2. Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) 1:49.36
3. Janine Flock (AUT) 1:49.71
3. Maria Orlova (RUS) 1:49.71
12. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 1:50.30

Shaun White crashes, clinches Olympic berth

David Ortiz weighed down by Aly Raisman’s medals (video)

David Ortiz, Aly Raisman
Getty Images
Leave a comment

David Ortiz called his good friend Aly Raisman on Thursday night. Raisman had one request for their scheduled meeting for Friday.

“I told him that he had to hold my medals while I threw out the first pitch,” Raisman said on NESN. “I told him he better not forget, but he remembered.”

Ortiz made it a highlight, wearing Raisman’s three Rio medals and plodding as if they were weighing him down before the Royals-Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Friday night.

It was reminiscent of Bryce Harper serving as a medal rack for Katie Ledecky on Wednesday night.

Ortiz and Raisman have come to know each other in the last four years, after Raisman’s first Olympic appearance in London. Raisman, a native of Needham, Massachusetts, has attended a gala and golf tournament benefitting Ortiz’s children’s charity.

She previously threw a first pitch at Fenway following the 2012 London Games. It didn’t faze Raisman that her pitch Friday bounced before reaching home plate.

“My pitch was horrible, but that’s OK,” Raisman said on NESN. “I’m good at gymnastics, so it doesn’t matter.”

Raisman will rejoin her Final Five teammates for a USA Gymnastics tour of 36 cities that begins Sept. 15. Whether she returns to competitive gymnastics is unknown.

MORE: Gymnastics royalty reacts to Biles and Raisman’s Olympic heroics

 

Claressa Shields congratulated by famous boxing actor (video)

Claressa Shields
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Claressa Shields may just be the most dominant female athlete on the planet. The Flint, Mich., native is now a two-time Olympic boxing champion with a 77-1 record and a four-year unbeaten streak.

Actor Mark Wahlberg, who played boxer Micky Ward in the 2010 film “The Fighter,” took notice.

He taped a video that Shields watched before a celebration in her hometown Thursday, according to the Flint Journal.

“You are the true definition of a champion,” Wahlberg said. “You continue to inspire so many people, not only in Flint, but all over the world. I’m so proud of you. Your performance was amazing. God bless you. I look forward to seeing you, and I look forward to doing lots of things with you.”

Now Shields must decide whether to turn professional, which would end her Olympic career.

“Professional women’s boxing is not nowhere near on the same attention level as the Olympics are,” the 21-year-old Shields said, according to the Flint Journal. “I get way more attention than any female boxer who is professional right now with me being an amateur.

“So the goal is to go professional but still have that same attention and same mainstream. Hopefully, if they have the rule changed that the women professionals can come back and fight the Olympics, I would go professional to fight on TV and make a bunch of money but then come back and defend my two gold medals in 2020.”

MORE: Shields becomes first U.S. fighter to win back-to-back golds