In 2010, U.S. Skeletoner Noelle Pikus-Pace was one tenth of a second from earning a medal at the Winter Games in Vancouver.
Unfortunately, she was one tenth too slow, and decided to retire from skeleton so she could focus on her family and raising her children.
On Friday, Pace fulfilled the dream that she had been so heartbreakingly close to four years ago, earning a silver medal in skeleton racing at Sochi.
The balance of being a mother and pursuing her Olympic ambitions has not been an easy one, but the experience of having her family there to support and cheer for her might have been the difference for her success in this year’s competition.
“Being a mom is my first priority and it always will be. To be able to do this all together is a perfect storm. To be able to come here with my husband and then to see [my children] Lacee and Traycen standing their waving has been a perfect experience,” Pace told the Los Angeles Times.
The journey to the Olympic podium wasn’t an easy one for Pace. She missed the 2006 Torino Games after a bobsled hit her and fractured her leg while she was in Calgary in 2005.
The debilitating fourth place finish in Vancouver in 2010 was also crushing, and having to deal with the emotional stress and pain of a miscarriage that occurred after Vancouver might have been the largest obstacle to overcome.
Now, with a silver medal around her neck, Pace can enjoy some of the vindication that comes with her victory. One gets the sense, however, that the silver medal isn’t what she is most appreciative of.
Photo via Twitter/@RJRico62