Utah's Pikus-Pace opens up at the Olympic Summit

Utah's Pikus-Pace opens up at the Olympic Summit

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CHICAGO -- I woke up bright and early Friday morning to catch a flight to Chicago for the Olympic Media Summit. My teammate Zach Lund and I flew out together and from the moment the plane landed to the time we flew home, we hardly found time to catch our breath.

I was shuffled around from interview to photo shoot and then from roundtable media sessions to broadcast interviews. I met some of the most amazing and talented people and have been so grateful for the opportunities that have come from pursuing this Olympic dream.

Media affiliates such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN, CNN, USA Today, TIME, Getty Images, The Today Show and of course, best of all, the amazing KSL crew were all there to gather stories and photos to lead into the Olympic Games this February in Vancouver, Canada! It is right around the corner.

The KSL crew has been following my story over the past four or five years, and it has always been such a great experience to work with them. Many of the crews had me wear my competition gear and imitate going down a track.

I was amazed by some of the photographs that were taken. They look like I am actually sliding down the track, and yet I was just balancing on a box or a couple of chairs.

Within many of the interviews I was asked about my injury leading into the 2006 Olympics (I was hit by a bobsled), about a documentary, "114 Days: The Race to Save a Dream," which shows in detail my efforts in recovering and trying to make it back to compete, and also about how hard it was on me when, despite my efforts, I was not able to compete. I was also asked how it has been to be a mom (my answer: "the most amazing experience of my life"), how it has affected my performance, and what my expectations are going into 2010.

Finally, I was asked multiple times about some of the hats I was wearing. In particular, one of my favorite hats is a winter earflap beanie (pink of course) with crazy white hair. I just started my own business, www.SnowFireHats.com. I sell them online as well as at a variety of boutiques. As an Olympic athlete we rely heavily on corporate sponsorships to allow us to train and compete. With the economic crisis that we have all been going through, it has taken its toll on Olympic athletes as well. So, instead of waiting around for a change to happen, I decided to try and help myself as best as possible. So, I started this business to help me help myself.

I had such a great time in Chicago this week. Four years may seem like a very long time to lead into a competition, but for me, it has gone by in the blink of an eye. Our first major competitions for skeleton are in Lake Placid, New York next month. From there, we come back home to Park City for two more races on October 23rd and 24th (come cheer us on!).

These are arguably the most intense races of the year for athletes in the U.S. These races decide who will compete on the World Cup team, and ultimately (depending upon each individual's World rank come January) the Olympic team. Only three men and three women will make the World Cup team, so right now, my sights aren't so focused on February, but rather October. There are so many little steps that lead into the Olympics and if you look past those, it's almost a guarantee that you'll miss the target.

Thank you all so much for your support!

Let the races begin!!!


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Noelle Pikus-Pace, Olympic skeleton racer


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