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SARATOGA SPRINGS — The 2018 Winter Olympics begin in three weeks with Opening Ceremonies. However, one of Utah's favorite athletes from the 2014 Olympics — Noelle Pikus-Pace — won't be competing.
Pikus-Pace retired after winning Silver in skeleton at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Nowadays, she keeps busy as the mother of four children and said she wouldn't trade it for anything.
“Family is everything, you know? It really is," she said. "It’s what makes the world go around for us. That’s what our world is centered around.”
Her former career took Pikus-Pace and her family around the world. After her last run in Sochi in 2014, when she realized she had medaled, she jumped into the crowd to be with her family.
“I can't even explain the emotions that went through me,” she said. “Immediately, the people, the volunteers in Russia were like, ‘You need to go this way to go get interviewed,’ and I’m like, ‘No, I need to be with these guys. I need to go up there.’”
Pikus-Pace and her family stuck together in Sochi. At the time, she said, “Having them here with me has helped me to do my best.”
That hasn't changed much in the past four years. Since those Olympics, Pikus-Pace and her family sold their home in Eagle Mountain, Utah, and moved to Costa Rica where her husband, Janson Pace, earned an MBA. They also had twins there.
“It worked out really well for the kids,” Janson Pace said. “They learned Spanish and found friends from different countries from South America and Central America. And so, it was amazing. The whole thing was amazing.”
“Continuously look ahead. There’s always something great around the corner.” - Noelle Pikus-Pace
The family recently moved back to Utah, where Pikus-Pace now does some motivational speaking. With the Olympics less than a month away, she admitted she misses the actual time on the ice.
“I miss the nerves you feel before competition, which you can find in other things you do. But there are certain aspects I really do miss,” she said.
Pikus-Pace plans to watch the Games and cheer for Team USA, then shut off the TV to be with her family, happy with the life they've made together.
“Continuously look ahead,” she advised. “There’s always something great around the corner.”
Pikus-Pace will travel to South Korea just before Opening Ceremonies as a Team USA athlete ambassador, along with Utah speed skater Derek Parra. They will be among those who welcome athletes and explain how important it is to leave a legacy and be a good sportsman.