Ester Ledecka makes history with gold in ski and snowboard events
Laurent Salino/Agence Zoom/Getty Images
- Ester Ledecka made history at the Winter Olympics, becoming the first athlete to ever medal in both Alpine skiing and snowboarding events at the same games.
- Ledecka's run began with her shocking upset win in ladies' Super-G, an event in which she had never placed higher than 29th.
- Just before the games came to a close, she completed her historic feat, winning her best event, the women's snowboard parallel giant slalom.
Ester Ledecka completed one of the greatest individual feats ever accomplished at the Winter Olympics on Saturday, winning the women's snowboard parallel giant slalom event to take her second gold medal of the games in two different sports.
While many athletes have medaled twice at the same Winter Games, no athlete has come close to Ledecka, as her first gold medal win at Pyeongchang 2019 came not in another snowboarding event, but in skiing.
Ledecka, a snowboarder by trade, shocked the sporting world last week when she finished first in the ladies' Super-G— an event she had competed at at the international level before, but had never placed higher than 29th. Her run was so improbable that the NBC announcing team had actually already named another skier the winner, under the assumption that none of the remaining athletes, Ledecka included, had a shot at catching the favorite.
Ledecka was as shocked as anyone else at her win — when she reached the bottom of her run, she appeared in disbelief and confusion as she realized that she had overtaken the lead.
Ledecka stands in disbelief after winning gold in ladies' Super-G. Ezra Shaw/Getty
But as shocking as her win was, it was just the start of her Olympic run. On Saturday, she completed it — taking gold in her best event, women's snowboard parallel giant slalom, which she had been favored in at the start of the games.
With the two gold medals, Ledecka became the first athlete in history to win gold in both Alpine skiing and snowboarding at the same Winter Games.
Her performance will go down as one of the most impressive in the history of the Olympics. While many athletes have won multiple gold medals in a year, Ledecka was the first woman to even compete in both Alpine skiing and snowboarding events, and she ended up winning gold in both. Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, but imagine if he had attempted to win gold in both swimming and diving — that's the type of accomplishment Ledecka pulled off with her historic feat.
Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic celebrates her gold medal run in women's snowboard parallel giant slalom. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
After her run, Ledecka said she hoped her success would inspire future athletes — kids who might be growing up with a love of both sports.
"Do whatever you want," she said. "If you want to choose just one, then choose just one. I wanted to choose both and a lot of people told me that it's not possible to get to the top in both."
At just 22 years old, there's no doubt that Ledecka has a bright future in both sports.
Video: Pyeongchang Diaries | 4 | Ester Ledecka makes history with PGS gold | Photorecap
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