Noelle Pikus-Pace

Noelle Pikus-Pace: I already miss skeleton, but happily retired

Leave a comment

NEW YORK — Noelle Pikus-Pace misses jumping head first onto a sled and speeding 90 mph down an icy chute.

She won skeleton silver at the Sochi Olympics eight months ago. Her home track in Park City, Utah, hasn’t opened for the winter season yet. Pikus-Pace plans to travel to the track at Utah Olympic Park in a couple of weeks.

“We’ll see if I get on my sled or not,” she said, breaking into a laugh. “I don’t know.”

Pikus-Pace first retired after the 2010 Olympics, but a year and a half later she found herself at that same Park City track. Her husband, Janson, challenged her to take one last run. She obliged, and it sparked a comeback.

Pikus-Pace, 31, insists she is happily retired after her emotional performance in Russia, returning from a fourth-place finish at Vancouver 2010, that retirement, having her second child and just about climbing to the top of her sport.

“It will be hard to just turn and walk away from it, but I think everybody needs to know when it’s time to move on, and I feel like I’ve done what I needed to do,” Pikus-Pace said Wednesday night at the Women’s Sports Foundation awards on Wall Street, where she received the Wilma Rudolph Courage award.

She’s watched her Olympic runs plenty of times in the last eight months.

“I get those emotions every time I see it,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen it.”

Pikus-Pace slid into a new career — motivational speaking. She shared her message of perseverance to events and groups such as Time Out for Women in Sacramento, Calif., the Utah Technology Council and Monroe Middle School in Wheaton, Ill.

source:  She was approached to write a book the day after she returned from Sochi, spent copious amounts of airline time writing it, turned in a draft in April and saw it released last month. “Focused: Keeping Your Life on Track, One Choice at a Time,” is 137 pages.

Now, she’s doing more personal book signings, where people tell her she inspired them to overcome struggles in their lives. Pikus-Pace recently did a double take driving around a mountain near her home.

“It was a big picture of my face on this billboard,” she said. “It was to market my book. I didn’t even know they were promoting it that way.”

The book was high on her post-Olympic bucket list. Also on it?

* See the Aurora Borealis in Alaska
* Develop fluent Spanish
* Learn sign language
* Run a half-marathon
* Learn to play the guitar
* Help her kids, Traycen and Lacee, reach their dreams
* Have more kids

“[Having kids] is not very aerodynamic for our sport,” she said, “so I can’t really come back.”

Traycen, 3, is in preschool. Lacee, 6, is in first grade and playing the piano. You may remember Lacee taking skeleton runs last season. Pikus-Pace joked she would prefer Lacee choose a different sport.

“Tennis, golf,” she said. “Something more lucrative and in the sun.”

J.R. Celski not on U.S. short track team for World Cup

Eliud Kipchoge sets next marathon

Eliud Kipchoge
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Eliud Kipchoge will race the London Marathon on April 26 before he is expected to defend his Olympic title in Japan on Aug. 9, which would mark the shortest break between marathons of his career.

Kipchoge, who in his last 26.2-mile effort became the first person to break two hours at the distance, won all four of his London Marathon starts, including breaking the course record in 2016 and 2019.

His time this past April 28 — 2:02:37 — is the third-fastest time in history. Kipchoge has the world record of 2:01:39 set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. His sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna on Oct. 12 was not in a record-eligible race.

Kipchoge’s previous shortest break between marathons came in 2016, when he also ran London and the Olympics. The Olympics will be two weeks earlier in 2020 than in 2016.

Kipchoge, 35, has won 11 of 12 marathons since moving to road racing after failing to make Kenya’s 2012 Olympic track team.

He has yet to race the two most prestigious marathons in the U.S. — Boston and New York City — but has said they are on his bucket list.

MORE: Eliud Kipchoge opines on shoe technology debate

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Canadians become first female doubles luge team in World Cup

AP
Leave a comment

WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) — Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless made luge history Saturday, becoming the first female team to compete in a World Cup doubles race.

The 16-year-olds from Whistler combined to finish 22nd in a field of 23 sleds, though that seemed largely irrelevant. There have been four-woman teams in what is typically called four-man bobsledding, but luge has never seen a pairing like this until now.

The German sled of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won the race in 1 minute, 16.644 seconds. Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt finished second and the Russian team of Vsevolod Kashkin and Konstantin Korshunov placed third for their first medal of the season.

The U.S. team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman placed 11th.

But the story was the Canadian teens, who qualified for the World Cup event on Thursday. They were nearly a half-second behind any other finisher and almost 2.7 seconds back of Eggert and Benecken. But they’ll forever be able to say that they were winning the race at one point — a technicality because they were the first ones down the hill at the Whistler Sliding Center, but accurate nonetheless.

The only sled they beat was the Italian team of Ivan Nagler and Fabian Malleier, who crashed in the second heat.

There are women’s singles and men’s singles races on the World Cup luge circuit, but there is no rule saying doubles teams must be composed of two men. There have been more female doubles racers at the junior level in recent years, and it was generally considered to be just a matter of time before it happened at the World Cup level.

That time became Saturday.

Canada had the chance to qualify a second sled into the doubles field because some teams typically on the circuit chose to skip this weekend’s stop, and Nash and Corless got into by successfully finishing a Nations Cup qualifying race on Thursday.

They were 11th in that race out of 11 sleds, more than a full second behind the winner and nearly a half-second behind the closest finisher. But all they had to do was cross the line without crashing to get into Saturday’s competition, and earned their spot in the luge history books as a result.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Top U.S. bobsled driver pregnant, to miss season