WHISTLER, British Columbia — Noelle Pikus-Pace is just

sixteen-hundredths of a second from a bronze-medal pace after two rounds of skeleton at

Whistler Olympic Park.

"This is amazing," said the Orem, Utah, native. "I could never have imagined how I would feel in this moment. It's indescribable."

The women have two more rounds of sliding Friday, Feb. 19, with round three starting at 3:45 p.m. (Pacific Time).

__IMAGE1__"I really let it fly," said Pikus-Pace. "I let it go and it really felt good. There are two new runs tomorrow, so I need to take it one run at a time. There's no doubt in my mind that I could win this. I'm not allowing any limitations in my mind, and I'm going to show up tomorrow thinking that it's mine for the taking."

The Mountain View High and Utah Valley University alum and Mormon athlete isn't going to waste an opportunity many years in the making. She was on the verge of her Olympic dream in 2005 when a bobsled hit her and broke her leg. She was back on the track within six weeks, but failed to make the 2006 U.S. Olympic Team.

She came back stronger than ever and won the 2007 World Championship, but then took a year off to have her first child.

Now with 12 medals, a World Cup title and a gold and silver at World Championships, an Olympic medal is the only thing left on her to-do list.

"For over a year I've been trying to picture this moment," said Pikus-Pace. "I don't think anything can prepare you for how big this is, how many people there are screaming for you on the way down."

Written on her sled is "100's of loved ones, 10 years, four runs, one sled, one dream." Wearing her signature pink speed suit, Pikus-Pace stood at the finish waving to her family in the stands.

"Those words on my sled describe what it's taken for me to be here," said Pikus-Pace. "It's been a journey, but I don't regret anything or wish I'd had a different path to be here."

Pace's teammate Katie Uhlaender, who broke her knee cap and spent much of the season on crutches, is in ninth place.

Amy Williams from Great Britain currently holds the lead. She set track record breaking runs of 53.83 and 54.13 seconds, respectively.

E-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com