Pyeongchang 2018 round-up: Historic double gold for Czech Republic's Ledecka

Dean Simpson
February 25, 2018

On Saturday, she traded her skis for a snowboard to race as the favorite in the parallel giant slalom and it nearly didn't matter how she did because no one had even attempted that before.

Ester Ledecka reacts after winning the Women's Parallel Giant Slalom.

She took the gold medal in snowboarding's parallel giant slalom to go to her surprise win in the Alpine super-G earlier in the Winter Games.

"This is fantastic", she said.

"It feels nearly unbelievable", Team USA's Matt Hamilton said, "but we came out here with great intensity and just had to believe we could do it, and make our shots".

Yet few had thought it was possible to successfully double up. The sporting polymath - she is also a brilliant windsurfer - emphatically proved otherwise.

And after progressing through the rounds comfortably, she easily beat German Selina Jorg by more than half a second in the final. Hofmeister had to settle for the bronze medal.

"For sure (there are two personalities) and today is a big day for snowboard Ester", she said with a grin. So while I am very happy for me, it's another race, another great race.

"The first, but not the last", Niskanen said.

"After the super-G, a lot of people were coming and saying, 'Congratulations.' Yet I was also thinking: 'OK, you have to change to snowboard already.' I had quite a hard time. I was just riding with the confidence, enjoying the race and having fun".

It was impressive enough that she was the first person to compete in skiing and snowboarding at an Olympics. When coaches counselled her to choose one or the other, she held her ground.

Her super G win was described as "one of the most astonishing Olympic stories of all time" as she won on borrowed skis.

She made it look easy on the last day of competition at the action park in an event that is usually considered an afterthought on the snowboarding program - but not this time.

"Even underneath the suit, I get goosebumps talking about it", Norway's Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen said. "So no eating today". Her time on the faster of the two courses, 43.32 seconds, would've beaten seven of the men - almost one fourth of the field - over the same track.

In the men's snowboarding parallel giant slalom, Nevin Galmarini of Switzerland was the gold medal victor, besting his silver medal he won in Sochi in 2014.

"It is great honour to be the first Korean medallist in snowboarding", Lee said.

The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) executive board met behind closed doors on Saturday to decide whether to lift the suspension of Russian Federation despite two of its athletes failing drugs tests.

No decision was taken, with talks resuming today.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article