Noelle Pikus-Pace returned to the top of the podium and kept Brit Lizzy Yarnold from a three-race winning streak at a World Cup event in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Saturday.
Pikus-Pace, 31, prevailed in a two-run time of 2 minutes, 19.88 seconds, setting a track record in the second run where she briefly fell behind Yarnold.
“This has been such a great week,” said Pikus-Pace, the 2007 world champion on the same track whose brother surprised her by showing up in town on Friday night. “I was a little behind at the start today and I knew some athletes made some mistakes in the first run, so I needed to attack each curve. This is such a special track, and I feel great with the result today.”
Pikus-Pace recovered at the bottom of the natural track and won by a comfortable .40 over Yarnold. Another Brit, Shelley Rudman, the world champion on the St. Moritz track last year, took third for her first podium of the season.
The women’s skeleton World Cup continues with an event in Igls, Austria, next week. It will be the final event before the U.S. Olympic Team is named.
Pikus-Pace, who notched her first win since mid-December, and Yarnold have each captured three of the six total races this season.
Pikus-Pace would have four if not for her season-opening disqualification in Calgary, Alberta. Other than that, they have been on the podium in every race and are setting up for a duel for Olympic gold in Sochi.
It’s remarkable for Pikus-Pace, who finished fourth at the 2010 Olympics, retired, had her second baby and came back last season.
American Katie Uhlaender was sixth in St. Moritz, her best finish of a season that got off to a slow start due to a concussion.
Uhlaender, the 2012 world champion, took last weekend off. It paid off. She improved one spot to 15th in the World Cup standings.
St. Moritz Women’s Skeleton
1. Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) 2:19.88
2. Lizzy Yarnold (GBR) 2:20.28
3. Shelley Rudman (GBR) 2:20.32
6. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 2:20.73