Olympics notebook: Czech adds snowboard gold medal to ski title
- Author: Theresa Obrien Mar 01, 2018,
Mar 01, 2018, 7:35
The Czech confirmed her position as the snow queen of the Games by becoming the first woman to win gold in two sports at a single Winter Olympics, following her sensational victory in the super-G skiing last weekend.
In doing so, she became the first athlete to win events in both Alpine skiing and snowboarding at the same Olympic Winter Games.
And after progressing through the rounds comfortably, she easily beat German Selina Jorg by more than half a second in the final. "I had one week for it, in the end, and until yesterday, I didn't really feel good with my riding", Ledecka said in her snowboard gold medal press conference.
"Today I proved it is possible", she said, "and I'm very happy that I have my team around me, which were very professional and supportive today, and all these years they're with me, so I'm very grateful for them".
Ledecka is the first female Olympian to win two gold medals in two separate events in the same Winter Olympics [VIDEO].
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Ledecka's success in the super-G was a huge shock as she upstaged defending champion Anna Veith by 0.01 seconds and Lindsey Vonn finished sixth.
When Ester took to the slopes as a child, starting on skis and then strapping on a snowboard, her father Janek Ledecky - Czechs sometimes vary the last vowel of their family name depending on gender - recalled that he and his wife "were not pushy parents".
"I really enjoyed the race today".
No need for argument about the greatest feat of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
"At that point it just clicked, and I said "let's go for it, Ester is incredible, she's one of a kind and we'll make it happen".
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Mike Trapp, a US Olympic parallel giant slalom snowboarder from Cape Cod who trains alongside Ledecka under Reiter, said being able to do two sports, like Ledecka, at some point comes down to the heart of the athlete, and that is why Ledecka has excelled. When countless people - too many to give a specific number, says the Olympic champion - told her to give up her ambitions of performing at an elite level in two sports, she held her ground and carried on.
"I feel that one of my biggest advantages is that I'm having fun with what I'm doing", she said fingering a Native American feather threaded into her hair.
"We did the best that we could to try to shelter her from you guys picking her bones clean".
Twice on Friday she crashed in training.
"I was screaming and crying when she came down and won that gold", she said.
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"It is great honour to be the first Korean medallist in snowboarding", Lee said. "I will just go to bed because I'm quite exhausted". She would've been disappointed to leave these Games with super-G gold but no snowboard medal. She had not worn makeup, preferring to keep her eyes shielded from the roomful of reporters and cameras.