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Pikus-Pace wins women’s skeleton World Cup finale in Koenigssee
KOENIGSSEE, Germany (Jan. 24, 2014)- Noelle Pikus-Pace (Orem, Utah) claimed her fourth gold medal of the season in a shortened one-heat women’s skeleton race this morning. Pikus-Pace was nearly half a second ahead of the field to win the World Cup finale in Koenigssee, and capped the year ranked second overall.
“I woke up this morning and saw the snow and thought, ‘Well, it’s what we do, it’s part of the sport,’” Pikus-Pace said. “You have to adapt. I was fortunate to draw number two as well, but I also think today’s finish is a big result of the support I have here.”
Pikus-Pace’s brother and sponsors from Mountain Crane in Utah once again surprised her by showing up unexpectedly to the event. Pikus-Pace’s maternal grandfather passed away earlier this week, and she said the visitors were especially appreciated during this emotionally trying time.
“I struggled a lot this week,” Pikus-Pace said. “I didn’t take as many runs as I planned because I was having a difficult time focusing. It’s been very hard not being home right now. I was just hoping for a top six finish here, and I am grateful to have finished with the win.”
Pikus-Pace gave herself an advantage of 0.44 seconds in the first run after racing to the finish in 52.92 seconds. Austrian Janine Flock was the closest competitor to the American with a run of 53.36 seconds. British Olympic medalist Shelley Rudman clocked a time of 53.42 seconds for third.
The jury decided to cancel the second heat as snow steadily fell between heats, and Pikus-Pace was declared the winner.
“What a way to go into Sochi,” Pikus-Pace said. “Finishing the final World Cup with a win is definitely a confidence booster heading into the Olympics.”
Pikus-Pace’s top rival, British athlete Elizabeth Yarnold, struggled in the finale and finished ninth. Yarnold has medaled in all seven races leading up to Koenigssee, including four victories. Despite today’s performance, Yarnold finished the season with 1672 points to claim the 2014 World Cup title. Pikus-Pace is second with 1520 points, and Rudman is ranked third with 1432 points.
Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) was one of the fastest competitors during training this week and she put together a solid run today, but the snow hindered her ability to climb to the podium. She finished 11th with a time of 54.40 seconds. Uhlaender collected 944 points this season to finish 12th in overall standings.
The Koenigssee World Cup continues tomorrow with the men’s two-man bobsled and men’s skeleton finales at 11:50 a.m. and 2:40 p.m., respectively.
Please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-354-2250 with media inquiries.
1. Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) 52.92; 2. Janine Flock (AUT) 53.36; 3. Shelley Rudman (GBR) 53.42);…11. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 54.40;
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