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Pikus-Pace, Hansen take Olympics break to attend LDS church in Russia

By Dave McCann | Posted - Feb 17th, 2014 @ 9:47pm


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SOCHI — It was Sunday in Sochi, and some 30 miles west of the Olympic flame and world spotlight, two Utah Olympians sat on the fourth floor of a weathered downtown building attending church.

The night before, Noelle Pikus-Pace received the silver medal in skeleton. Earlier in the week BYU sophomore Kate Hansen delivered a top-10 finish in the luge.

Sunday, however, both conquered the man-made obstacle course of Russia's roadways to worship with fellow members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"This is absolutely important to me," Pikus-Pace said. "This is the top priority for myself and my family."

Through interpreters, Pikus-Pace and her family, along with Hansen and the rest of the English guests followed a touching program.

"It was so cool to hear some people singing in English (and) some in Russian," Hansen said. "It was just so cool everyone's come from so many places, and even though it's a different language it's all the same message."

The LDS branch typically has 30 members in attendance. With the Olympics in town, attendance was more than double.

The branch president is Elder Scott Allen, 20, of Mesa, Ariz. His companion is Elder Parker Goodwin of Pleasant Grove, Utah.

"The members are great here," Allen said. "There are usually four missionaries in this branch, and we work closely with the members to move forward the work of salvation."

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