In the Zone with Olympian Noelle Pikus Pace
Even Olympians appreciate a good Babies "R" Us! USA Women's Skeleton racer Noelle Pikus Pace talks about being a mom of two and how her road to Sochi has always been a family affair.
Being an Olympian is a family affair for USA Women’s Skeleton racer Noelle Pikus Pace. Not only does her husband Janson and their two children—Lacee, born in 2008, and Traycen, born in 2011— travel with her all over the world while she competes, Janson also helped to design her competition sled.
After announcing her retirement following her 4th place finish at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Pikus Pace, 31, said that “they decided as a family” that she would come back in 2012 in order to chase Olympic gold at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Pikus Pace placed third at the World Cup race in Lake Placid, NY on Dec. 15 (her final race on US soil before she retires for good) and will head to Europe this week to finish the rest of the World Cup season and prepare for the Winter Games.
What’s scarier: raising two kids or hurtling head-first down an icy track at 90 miles an hour?
They’re very comparable. Both of them have challenges, but they both have a bright side too. You have to expect the unexpected. There are some days when you know that you won’t get everything in that you wanted or needed to do. They both have obstacles, so you have to have a sense of humor about things. You can’t get discouraged by the little bumps in the road.
What has been the best Olympic moment that you’ve gotten to share with your kids?
For the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, my daughter had just turned 2 years old. I remember crossing the finish line and I wasn’t thinking about where I had come in or where I’d placed. My first thought was to find my family in the stands. I saw my husband holding my daughter, and they were waving an American flag and cheering really loud. At that point, it didn’t even matter how I’d finished. That’s a memory that’s stayed with me.
You’ve faced some challenges professionally (Pikus Pace broke her leg in a freak accident before the 2006 Turin games), but what has been your biggest parenting challenge?
The biggest challenge has been keeping it all together and staying sane in the chaotic moments. Especially making sure you have everything. Since we travel a lot, sometimes we leave things behind, but we still need to have them. You know, you have to make sure you have snacks and sippy cups and diapers and all that. It’s helpful when we go to a place like New York where there’s Babies “R” Us, and we can just get everything we need.
If there was a Parenting Olympics, in which field would you get the gold?
Diaper changing, definitely. I’ve been a Pampers mom from day one, and I am a real pro at diaper changing.
Finish this sentence: You know you’re in the Baby Zone when…
When you find yourself in the baby department of every store, looking at all of the baby clothes and toys.
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