Snowboarder Ester Ledecka came to the PyeongChang Games planning to make history as the first person to compete at the Olympics in both skiing and snowboarding. Instead, she shocked the world, and herself, with an astonishing upset victory in the women’s super-G.
“I thought they were going to put a couple more seconds on my time,” Ledecka later said, laughing and well aware that the race would be decided by hundredths of a second. “I was waiting for it.”
Ledecka, currently ranked 43rd in the women’s World Cup super-G standings, outpaced a field that included Lindsey Vonn, who was favorite for the gold medal. Ledecka’s time of 1 minute 21.11 seconds was one-hundredth of a second faster, the narrowest margin of victory possible in Alpine racing, than silver medalist Anna Veith, the defending champion in the event.
Ledecka is an Olympian from the Czech Republic who is known more for her snowboarding world championships than her ski racing accolades. Her obvious athleticism shined through, a fact that’s even more surprising knowing that she raced on someone else’s skis. That ski benefactor just so happened to be Mikaela Shiffrin.
Vonn said although she wishes she’d finished with a medal, she wasn’t disappointed, noting Ledecka’s incredible versatility:
“I wish I had as much athleticism as she has that I could just hop from sport to sport and just, like, win everything. But unfortunately, I’m only good at ski racing – and she still beat me.”
Ester Ledecka will switch disciplines for her next event, competing in the snowboarding parallel giant slalom on Thursday.