Days after winning silver, Mormon Olympian Noelle Pikus-Pace goes to church, reflects on God's path for her
And part of her message is that life is about paying attention to and appreciating the smallest details. Pikus-Pace does ask herself why God chose her to send some of the messages that she feels compelled to share. She said she believes her preparation for this journey began long before she even knew what skeleton was.
Her advice to young people is to be aware that every choice has life-long consequences.
“It all comes down to all the little choices you make, all throughout your life,” she said. “It’s not just one day you decide, ‘OK, I’m going to follow the path of the Lord. I’m going to have a testimony. I’m going to have faith in this.’ It’s a daily decision. It starts when you are young — you make decisions every day. ‘Yes, I will go to seminary. Yes, I will go to Young Womens. Yes, I will graduate from high school. Yes, I will put my faith in the Lord, and I want to get married in the temple.’ It’s all of these little steps along the way that set you up for other paths and open up other doors.”
That’s not to say it’s too late if a person hasn’t made those choices or has made choices that prevent them from those blessings, she said.
“That’s why we have the belief in repentance as well, and that’s one of the key aspects of the gospel is the Atonement of Christ,” she said. “We believe the Savior atoned for our sins and so if we repent of those things, we can get back on a path that is clear.”
That doesn’t guarantee smooth sailing, something Pikus-Pace acknowledges with a smile.
“It doesn’t mean that things are always positive or that they’ll go our way,” she said. “It just means that we’ll have the peace and understanding to understand our trials when they come and that our lives will be blessed.”
Pikus-Pace doesn’t shy away from her belief that she’s been blessed with success and a platform, and she plans to continue sharing her message with those who will listen.
Her favorite scripture comes from the Book of Mormon, and addresses why she saw athletics as an opportunity to send messages of hope and encouragement — especially to young people.
Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever. (Alma 26:12)
She felt purpose most keenly when she stood on the podium in front of thousands of Olympic fans, wearing, for the first time, a physical reward for her heartache, sacrifice and hard work.
“Where much is given, much is required,” she said. “I know I have a big responsibility. I hope the young women and the young men can see that it really is important, more than ever, to stand for something today, and to stand up for your values and beliefs. Even if you’re the only one having to stand alone. There are always others who can help support you, and Heavenly Father is always right there by your side.”
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