It’s 1999 with the turn of the Millenium at the brink and for the first time in history, women’s skeleton is being added to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Meanwhile, as a junior in high school and a standout heptathlete, Noelle is rattling down a mile-long icy chute in a bobsled named Comet. For 1 year, as a member of the developmental bobsled program, she’ll sit in a tucked position reaching 80 mph, before she is introduced to the legendary Skeleton sled. You know, headfirst on your stomach, 5-Gs with your chin 1-inch off the ice! The rest is history.
Fast-forward 15 adventure-filled years to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, where Noelle crossed the finish line in dramatic fashion. Silver would be her new favorite color and precious “medal” of choice, especially when it comes to jewelry. With her newly endowed silver wings, she literally jumped into the stands, into the arms of her husband and two children, and into the hearts of America, garnering her victory and celebration the “Moment of the Games.” This decade long battle to the Olympic podium began in 2005 when tragedy struck, costing Noelle her OIympic spot and a shot at a medal.
It was 2004 and the start of Noelle’s 2nd World Cup season when the amazing happened, she won Gold for the first time and capped the season off as the World Cup champion. Unfortunately, not all planes get to fly above the war. With the 2006 Olympics now in sight, Noelle was the gold medal favorite, the one with the yellow bib, and the one everyone was chasing. The Olympic podium was in sight and at just 114 days before the big show, Noelle was severely injured when she was hit by a run-a-way bobsled, suffering a compound leg fracture. Despite a miraculous recovery to compete on the circuit just 6 weeks later, she failed to accumulate enough points in time for the Olympics, and her medal had slipped away.
This devastating turn of events gave Noelle the motivation to finish the 2006 season as the World Champion, winning that race by the largest margin in the history of the sport. She took the following season off, so she and Janson, her husband could start a family. Their daughter Lacee was born in 2008 and with the 2010 Olympics now around the corner, the next two years would require Noelle to leave behind her husband and daughter to compete for long stints in Europe. The 2010 Olympics were going to be different because Noelle would be competing on a sled designed and built by her husband. It turned out that this wasn’t enough, with Noelle finishing 4th and missing a medal by 1/10th of a second. She gave it her all and retired from the sport after Vancouver, at least that’s what she thought.
Shortly after retirement, Noelle and Janson welcomed their son Traycen into their family in 2011, and in 2012 after suffering a late miscarriage, Janson suggested she go back to compete for the Olympic podium, but this time as a family. The obstacles and challenges seemed insurmountable, but they faced them all with a smile, raising the money necessary and making their family dream a reality. For the next two years, they would spend the winters traveling the world, supporting Noelle as she completed her 2 most successful seasons in the sport, reaching the podium in every world cup race she competed in leading up to the Winter Games in Sochi.
Her journey is full of lessons learned and opportunities to rise above the worst to achieve greatness.
On February 14, 2014, Noelle Pikus Pace crossed the finish line at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, and finally earned an Olympic medal- but it wasn’t an easy road. She learned through her trials the importance of setting specific goals each and every day in an effort to progress forward. After a terrible crash in Germany, she realized the importance of eliminating doubts, fears, and worries within our daily lives and that where you look is where you’ll go. Noelle will undoubtedly make you laugh as she shares this story and applies it to life.
- They’ll see the power of vision and focus through life’s experiences.
- Recognize how to eliminate their own doubts and fears that are holding them back.
- They’ll reflect and take action on where they are looking in life.
Ranked number one in the world and expected to not only compete in the 2006 Olympics but bring home the gold, Noelle suffered a tragic accident as a bobsled uncontrollably left the icy track and hit her just 3 months before the Olympic Games. As she lay on the asphalt, she realized that her leg was broken, and her dreams shattered. Noelle shares an inspiring story that opened her eyes to realize that she still had a choice to make. She could look back and be upset and angry at what had just happened, or she could CHOOSE to move forward. We all face difficulties and trials in our lives. Not one of us is immune to heartache, roadblocks, or obstacles. But we ALWAYS have a choice to make once those difficulties arise. We can choose to look back… or we can choose to move forward.
- Recognize that they have a choice in all things.
- We can’t always control our circumstances, but we can control our attitude.
- Life throws us curveballs but we have the power to choose.
Following a fourth-place finish at the Vancouver Games in 2010, Pikus Pace was devastated. After traveling at speeds of 90-miles per hour down a mile-long track and accumulating her 4 race-times, she missed an Olympic medal by 1/10th of a second. She had followed her training program diligently. Noelle had studied the track and knew how to steer her sled down the course. Was there something she missed? Fourth place was a good place to finish, but it was far from great. The summer following the Games Noelle decided to watch her Olympic race for the first time. It was then that she made a devastating realization: her shoelaces were dragging the entire way down the mile-long track and cost her an Olympic medal.
- They’ll learn that it is those small decisions we make daily that will shape our habits and who we will inevitably become.
- How to make small and simple acts take us from good to great.
- How our goals are affected by seemingly insignificant factors.
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NOELLE PIKUS PACE
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