Noelle Pikus-Pace, Olympian, Skeleton
Perhaps what best deﬁnes Noelle Pikus-Pace is that smile. It’s seldom not there, even when she tragically got hit by a bobsled, shattering her leg and derailing her Olympic dream on the eve of what was supposed to be her golden Olympic moment. She smiled from her hospital bed and vowed she’d be back. And she is. In 2010, after a remarkable return to competition and a stop oﬀ at motherhood, Noelle ﬁnished 4th at the Olympic Games in Vancouver, but that wasn’t good enough. She’s coming back to Sochi for another shot at gold, this time as the mother of two.
What got you started in your sport?
I ran track and field at Mountain View High School in Orem, Utah and my track coach asked if I would like to try bobsledding. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I did bobsledding for a year and then my senior year of high school I switched to the coolest sport ever: skeleton! Who wouldn't want to sprint as fast as they can, dive head first onto a cookie sheet looking sled, and race down the side of a mountain with their chin an inch off the ice as they go 90 miles an hour? It is a blast!
What advice would you give to students about following their passion/their dreams?
Great things don't just happen by giving a partial effort. Whatever it is that you want in life, whoever it is that you want to be, wherever it is that you want to go, you have to work hard everyday and believe that you can obtain it. There will most definitely be setbacks and road blocks at times, but those circumstances can shape us into better and stronger people if we allow them to. I truly believe that our potential is limitless. It is up to us to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone so that we can become what we want to become.
How do you give back?
There is so much strength to be found in serving others. A few of the charities that I support are Habitat for Humanity, Now I Can, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Afghanistan Orphanage Project. Aside from giving my time or means where possible to these foundations, I absolutely love working with the youth. I help to organize and plan events in my church for over 200 girls between the ages of 12-18. I love to see their potential and growth. I love to learn from them and see the world through their eyes. I love the other leaders that I serve with in this position. I would not be able to be where I am today without the service that so many others have given to me. I am grateful for those that give so freely of their time and talents and I believe that there is a responsibility that each of us share in- to give back in order to make this world a little better.