PyeongChang, Feb 17 (IANS) The Czech Republic’s Ester Ledecka, a snowboarding specialist, pulled off a massive surprise on Saturday by winning gold in the Winter Olympics’ super giant slalom skiing women’s event.
Her victory at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre in Bukpyeong-myeon, South Korea, was shocking considering she had only competed in a score of World Cup ski races in her career, reports Efe.
It also clearly shows that the disciplines of snowboarding and alpine skiing are compatible.
The 22-year-old Ledecka is a two-time snowboarding world champion, having won the parallel slalom event in Kreischberg, Austria, in 2015 and the parallel giant slalom event in Sierra Nevada, Spain, last year.
She now can add the title of Olympic alpine skiing gold medallist to her resume after her surprise win in PyeongChang, where she won the Ladies’ Super-G with a time of 1:21.11. She was just one one-hundredth of a second faster than defending champion Anna Veith of Austria and 0.11 faster than Liechenstein’s Tina Weirather.
“I was probably the only snowboarder on site. All the other girls didn’t risk a lot. There must be a lot of pressure on them. I was just trying to do my best run,” said Ledecka.
“I am so surprised about all of it. I’m really trying to win and do a good run every time but I didn’t really realize that this really can happen,” added the snowboard parallel world champion.
Ledecka stared at the clock in disbelief after posting her winning time and later told reporters what was going through her mind.
“OK, they’re going to change the time. I’m going to wait for a little bit, and you’re going to switch and (add) some more seconds,” the Czech athlete said.
Veith was defending the Olympic title she won four years ago in Sochi, Russia, in the Super-G, a speed event.
The Czech’s mere participation in the Super-G was historic, as over this fortnight she will become the first athlete to compete in an Olympic ski and snowboard race.
Her victory also was a first for the Czech Republic, which had never before captured an Alpine Olympic gold medal.
Ledecka’s Olympics are not over though, as she will be competing in the snowboard parallel giant slalom event next week.