SPARKS, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Before skeleton racer and silver medalist Noelle Pikus-Pace set her eyes upon the finish line in Sochi, she set her eyes on beautiful airbrush work on the website for Hardart Kustoms by Jerry Cates of Sparks. He says it was an American-themed helmet that caught her attention.
"It seems like it was just total happenstance,” he says. “It’s almost like getting the winning lottery ticket."
Last year, Pikus-Pace’s husband e-mailed Cates, and so began his part in Olympic history.
"They said, ‘We'd love for you to do Noelle's helmet. The only thing we ask is that it has pink, and it says U.S.A right on the front of it.’ And the rest was up to me."
A few weeks later, her helmet came in the mail and it was time to get to work.
"It took me about a week to get it done. When you add up all the time involved, then there's a lot of time where it just sits there, because you're waiting for paint to dry. And so total, probably three weeks."
Cates has been airbrushing as a hobby for seven years in his garage, and he says seeing his work on the world stage has been a humbling experience.
"It’s just bizarre, but awesome. It’s awesome,” says Cates. “For her to have picked me of thousands of airbrush artists, and it narrows down to a handful of people who are much more talented than me… It blows me away. I'm just so proud to have done it. "
You can see more of Jeff Cates’ work at hardartkustoms.com