Until last week, 22-year-old Czech athlete, Ester Ledecka was more well known for her snowboarding talents rather than her exploits on skis. She was ranked 43rd in the World Cup Standing in Super-G, and was thought to have a better chance of gold in the snowboarding events in Pyeongchang this Olympics.
But that all changed on Saturday, when she pulled off the shock of the season – beating some of the best female skiers in the world to take out the Olympic Super-G gold.
When Ledecka started her run, defending Super-G champ, Anna Veith was at the bottom of the slope, probably preparing to celebrate becoming the first woman to win back-to-back titles in the Olympic super-G.
Ledecka’s run was at par with her starting position until halfway down the course but she carved up the bottom of the run to clock 1:21.11 seconds.
She could hardly believe it herself when the green light indicated she had beat Veith out of the gold medal by a 100th of a second, giving her country its first Alpine Skiing gold medal.
“I was wondering what just happened. Is this a kind of mistake?” She said.
“I was thinking ‘OK, they’re going to change the time, I’m going to wait for a little bit then they’re going to put more seconds on’. I was just staring at the board and nothing was happening and everyone was screaming and I started to think, ‘OK, this is weird’”.
Veith’s time of 1:21.12 got her the silver medal, while Liechenstein’s Tina Weirather claimed bronze with a time of 1:21.22.
Before her miraculous Super-G win, Ledecka had no plans to compete in the women’s downhill because of the fast-approaching snowboard events. However, this may change in the coming days.
“Until today, I thought I was a better snowboarder,” she said. “I’m sure my ski coach will be a little bit pushy on (me doing) the downhill but my snowboard coach wants me on the snowboard. So it’s like when you have a father and mother who are switching their children. My skiing and snowboarding coaches are switching me every time. I’m really looking forward to the snowboard and I think I should already switch on ‘snowboard girl’ now. It would be very nice (to win both) and I will for sure do my best for it.”
Needless to say, it’ll be very exciting to see more of Ledecka’s talents on the ski slopes this month!