Noelle Pikus-Pace is an Olympic athlete and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was born on December 8, 1982, in Provo, Utah, the youngest of eight children. She attended Mountain View High School in Orem, Utah, and excelled at basketball, softball, track and field, and soccer. She also took up bobsledding and began skeleton. She earned a scholarship to the University of Utah in track and field.
She married Janson Pace the summer of 2002 and transferred to Utah Valley State where she continued to run track and pursue the sport of skeleton. That year she finished 3rd in the overall America's Cup Skeleton races, broke the college high jump record, and was the NJCAA National Discus Champion. She was named 1st team All-American. The following year she won the overall America's Cup title and was placed on the 2nd half of the World Cup tour.
In 2003-2004 Noelle competed on the World Cup tour, finishing 14th in the World. In 2005 she won her first World Cup gold medal in Winterberg, Germany. She continued on that year to become the first American woman to win the Overall World Cup title. Going into the 2006 season, Noelle was favored to win the gold medal in the Torino Olympics. A tragic accident, at team trials in Calgary shattered that dream when she was hit by a runaway bobsled -- She and her teammates were hit by a four-man bobsleigh that failed to brake after the finish line. The bobsleigh ejected out of the end of the track and hit Pikus-Pace and teammate Lea Ann Parsley, narrowly missing three other teammates. Pikus-Pace underwent surgery to repair her broken leg, including an insertion of a titanium rod in her right leg. She would return to competition seven weeks later at Igls, Austria, finishing 20th. A documentary, 114 Days records her miraculous recovery, of 6 weeks, to make it back to compete in those same Olympics.
In 2007, Noelle went on to win World Championships, by the largest margin in history, while breaking the track record in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and again becoming the first American Woman to obtain the title of World Champion in the sport of skeleton.
She graduated from Utah Valley University with a bachelor's degree in community health and physical education in 2005 and with an MBA from Colorado Technical University in December 2007. Noelle took off the 2007-2008 season to have a baby girl. She is now going all out for the 2008-2009 season, in preparation for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. Going into the Olympics in Vancouver, Noelle was ranked sixth in the world, and was America's best hope for a medal.
She graduated from Utah Valley University in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in community health and physical education and then with an MBA from Colorado Technical University in December 2007. Noelle took off the 2007–2008 season to have a baby; daughter Lacee was born in 2007.
In 2010, her sled was damaged and a replacement sled was also damaged, so her husband, who is a project manager for a metal fabricator, designed a new sled that she used in the 2010 Olympics. Going into the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Noelle was ranked sixth in the world, and was America's best hope for a medal. She missed winning a bronze medal by one-tenth of a second. She retired after her narrow-medal miss with the intent of focusing on having another baby. She had a son, Traycen, in 2011.
After suffering a miscarriage in April 2012, and at her husband’s urging, she came out of retirement only 20 months before the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. During that time she won 16 national and international medals including 10 gold medals, 4 silver medals, and 2 bronze. She won the silver medal in the World Championships individual event and the gold in the team event.
She had blacked out while training a week and a half before her 2014 Olympic competition. She temporarily couldn’t hear or talk so doctors grounded her for a few days. She then had an MRI and was cleared to compete. On February 14, with her husband and children watching nearby, she won a silver medal.
During a new United States Olympic Committee Best of U.S. award ceremony, she won an award for “Moment of the Games” as a result of the family-filled celebration that happened spontaneously after she received her silver medal. The new award program highlights athletes who were outstanding in their performances.
Pikus-Pace and her husband, Janson Pace, live in Eagle Mountain, Utah. She also owns a hat business called SnowFireHats.com.