June 22, 2018

Ledecka makes history with double gold in skiing and snowboarding

01 March 2018, 07:32 | Sheila Mcguire

Getty Images

Getty Images

One of the surprising breakout stars of the Winter Games, the Czech pulled double-duty on the slopes and became the first to win snowboarding's parallel giant slalom and skiing's Alpine super-G.

Medalists in the women's parallel giant slalom from right, Germany's Selina Joerg, silver, the Czech Republic's Ester Ledecka, gold, and Germany's Ramona Theresia Hofmeister, bronze, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.

This Saturday's win came nearly a week after Ledecka stunned a strong field including defending champion Anna Veith and American Lindsey Vonn to win the super-G, which already made her one of the big stories of these Games. "Today, it's big day for snowboard Ester", she said Saturday.

Never before has the seemingly unbreachable divide between the old classic of the Games, Alpine skiing, and the popular modern sport of snowboarding been breached by an athlete winning gold in both.

There were a few nervy moments for Ledecka in the final, but the world champion overcame those wobbles to finish 0.46 seconds ahead of her rival and complete history in South Korea.

The Czech admitted it had been hard to adjust to her primary sport after the whirlwind that followed last week's triumph on skis.

"This is the best thing about my job, the racing".

Russian bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeyeva has been banned from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics after failing a doping test, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said on Saturday.

Ledecka's double medal swoop has earned her the nickname of "Queen of the Games".

Vonn would like to be a multisport athlete, but her forays into tennis, figure skating, soccer and gymnastics were short-lived. Suddenly, she was an Olympic champion.

Michael Trapp, an American who trains with Ledecka in Colorado, said her passion, and persistence, more than her talent or versatility, is what sets her apart.

"I realized that was really inhibiting what we were doing in that the more I wanted her to find that medal, I really stifled what could be".

"It made everybody think about how much better we could all ski the course", Shiffrin added. She's not the type of person to win a gold and say: 'I'm done'.

But going back and forth between both is not easy. "Just focusing on myself and my riding, and I think it helps me a lot in the race". Nobody should be too surprised that she took another gold medal, either. She said she did not feel good with her snowboarding here until the day before competition. This time, however, she has different plans.

Whenever Ledecka returns from her skiing exploits, Reiter said, it is akin to having to polish a rough diamond all over again.

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