Pikus-Pace and Uhlaender finish 1-2 on Olympic track

Feb. 16, 2013, 2:56 a.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director
(518) 354-2250, abird@usbsf.com

Pikus-Pace and Uhlaender finish 1-2 on Olympic track

RZHANAYA POLYANA, Russia (Feb. 16, 2013)- Noelle Pikus-Pace (Orem, Utah) and Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) finished 1-2 in the women’s skeleton 2014 Olympic test event this morning.   The Americans set themselves apart from the field by establishing a difference of 0.87 seconds between first and third place, and the race for gold was between the two teammates in the final heat.

“This is such an exciting moment,” Pikus-Pace said.  “Katie and I on the podium together shows how strong we are going into the Olympic season, and a lot of that can be attributed to a great coaching staff and amazing support.  This definitely gives me confidence going into next season and I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do a year from now.”

Uhlaender set the pace for the competition with a speedy time of 58.98 seconds.  No one in the field could come closer than 0.17 seconds from the two-time Olympian, who nailed every steer on the way down the course.  Pikus-Pace clocked a first run of 59.15 seconds and was the closest competitor that had any chance of catching Uhlaender in the final. 

Athletes jockeyed for position in the final heat, but the race for gold was between teammates Pikus-Pace and Uhlaender.  Pikus-Pace made several errors in the first run and she knew she had a chance to fight for gold if she could clean up her mistakes.

“I was struggling with this track during training and I couldn’t figure out corner 14,” Pikus-Pace said.  “We haven’t been able to get good video because the shades have been pulled down during training, but I was able to see the race feed today.  Once I saw it, it clicked.  I was able to figure it out and knew that if I cleaned that up I’d have a fighting chance.”

Pikus-Pace found pockets of speed throughout the course that seemed to propel her to the finish, and she was the only competitor to finish under 60-seconds in the final run.  She waited at the finish to see if her combined time of 1:58.91 would hold up as her teammate raced to the finish. 

Uhlaender bettered her start time and her run looked nearly identical to her first as she threaded together the track straight and center.  She crossed the finish line just 0.11 seconds short of gold with a combined time of 1:59.02, but immediately embraced and congratulated Pikus-Pace on her victory.

“I missed my drive in corner 11 and I knew it would be tough to catch Noelle after that,” Uhlaender said.  “I’m really pumped though, because USA finished one-two.  I want to leave something in the tank for next year, and the next fastest person is my teammate.  We work really well together, and I think we’re going to really challenge our competitors when we’re back next season for the Olympics.”

Anja Huber from Germany was a distant 0.87 seconds off Pikus-Pace’s overall time.  Huber clocked a two-run total of 1:59.78 to claim bronze. 

Pikus-Pace has medaled in every race since the New Year, and today’s victory marks her second gold medal of the season and her fifth consecutive podium finish.  Today’s silver medal performance is Uhlaender’s fourth World Cup medal this year.

“I keep asking our coach Tuffy Latour if that really just happened,” Pikus-Pace said.  “I can’t believe it.  I’m going to take this all in now, but I know next year will be a different story.  I have to wipe the slate clean and give it my best, and hopefully my best will be better than everyone else’s so I’m back on the podium a year from now.”

“This was an awesome day for the team,” Latour said.  “Katie and Noelle have been pushing each other week after week, and they are continually making each other better.  They really are trusting the process, and this is definitely a great moment to be coach of the U.S. skeleton team.”

Racing continues today with the two-man bobsled race at 1 pm local time, 4 am ET.  Please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at abird@usbsf.com or 518-354-2250 with media inquiries.


1. Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) 1:58.91 (59.15, 59.76); 2. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 1:59.02 (58.98, 1:00.04); 3. Anja Huber (GER) 1:59.78 (59.45, 1:00.33);


About the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation
The United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. The USBSF would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: BMW of North America, Under Armour, United States National Guard, Kampgrounds of America, WIDIA, Vivat!, Global Forwarding, KBC Helmets, Azad Watches, Latta USA, Ludus Tours, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Autism Speaks, Park City Lodging, EDAS/Ripxx, UberSense, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.