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Noelle Pikus-Pace claims Women’s Skelton World Championship Silver medal in comeback season

Noelle Pikus-Pace claims Women’s Skelton World Championship Silver medal in comeback season

Noelle Pikus-Pace (Photo credit: Charlie Booker/USBSF)

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (Feb. 1, 2013)- Noelle Pikus-Pace (Orem, Utah) made up three-tenths of a second on overnight leader Shelley Rudman after posting the fastest times of the final two heats of Women’s skeleton World Championships.  While it wasn’t enough to overtake Rudman, Pikus-Pace sees the silver lining. “What a great day,” Pikus-Pace said.  “I felt so much better today and I am excited to be on the medal stand.  This has already been such an amazing year.”

When Pikus-Pace started her comeback season she hoped to qualify for a spot on the national team and maybe medal at World Championships.  She rang in the New Year with a World Cup bronze medal before completing her collection with silver and gold medal performances.  Her World Championships started with a bang when she dominated the women’s skeleton heat in the team event to help USA-1 claim gold, which raised her expectations. “I was really focused on being consistent this season, and I’ve been on the podium for every race so far in 2013,” Pikus-Pace said.  “I’m really pleased with my results and I know I can be competitive with the best in the world.  I’ve raised the bar for myself at this point and expect to be at the top.”

Pikus-Pace knew she was capable of winning.  The 2007 World Champion was one second off the pace after the first two heats, and she was aware of the uphill battle she’d face today for gold.  She was up for the challenge.

Pikus-Pace chipped away at the lead by posting a blistering third run of 1:09.45 compared to Rudman’s time of 1:09.63. She gained even more time after clocking the quickest final run of 1:09.69, but Pikus-Pace was unable to climb out of yesterday’s deficit and finished 0.57 seconds short of gold.  Her four-run combined time of 4:39.17 earned her the 2013 World Championship silver medal.  “I got in my own way and wasn’t able to perform my best yesterday, which is disappointing,” Pikus-Pace said.  “I’d be OK finishing second or even last if I knew I’d competed at my best, but it’s tough knowing I left something behind.  I finally got out of my own way today and gave it everything I had today.  I know what I’m capable of now, and it just makes me even hungrier to win next time.”

Rudman earned the first women’s skeleton title for Great Britain with a cumulative time of 4:38.60.  Canadian Sarah Reid posted two strong runs today to move her past British athlete Elizabeth Yarnold for the bronze medal.  Reid finished 0.13 seconds ahead of Yarnold with a total time of 4:40.01.

Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.), the 2012 World Champion, held her overnight position to finish seventh with a four-run total time of 4:40.56.  Uhlaender made her best effort to move into the top six with two smooth runs of 1:09.93 and 1:10.05, but finished just 0.07 seconds from sixth place finisher Michelle Steele.

Results:

1. Shelley Rudman (GBR) 4:38.60 (1:09.54, 1:09.49, 1:09.63, 1:09.94); 2. Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) 4:39.17 (1:09.99, 1:10.04, 1:09.45, 1:09.69); 3. Sarah Reid (CAN) 4:40.01 (1:10.64, 1:09.86, 1:09.70, 1:09.81);…7. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 4:40.56 (1:10.32, 1:10.26, 1:09.93, 1:10.05);

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