Pyeongchang 2018: Ester Ledecká wins Super-G gold in historic Olympic upset

Pyeongchang 2018: Ester Ledecká wins Super-G gold in historic Olympic upset

The part-time skier and full-time snowboarder stunned the alpine world, winning the women's Super-G by one-hundredth of a second over the defending Olympic champion.

john-lupo
John Lupo

In what can only be classified as one of the biggest upsets in Olympic history, Ester Ledecká claimed gold in the women's Super-G at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Ledecká is a world champion snowboarder who is ranked just 43rd in the current Super-G standings and whose previous best finish in a Super-G race was 19th.

Her winning time was 1:21.11. 

To add to the remarkable story, she is rumoured to have used borrowed skis from American superstar Mikaela Shiffrin - although this has not been confirmed - as she edged the defending Olympic champion Anna Veith by one-hundredth of a second. 

Tina Weirather took the bronze.

Veith prematurely celebrates victory as Ledecká charges to victory

After completing her run in 1:21.12, the Austrian had been celebrating her victory at the bottom of the course as Ledecká pushed out of the start, the 26th racer of the day.

The Czech has won world championship medals in snowboarding but never came close to winning a World Cup ski race. Since skiers ranked in the top 20 in the event are allowed to go first, the race for the medals was considered over.

Then Ledecká charged down the mountain. When her early interval times showed she was threatening to take over the lead, not everyone was surprised. Some of her colleagues knew that Ledecká had often won sections of training runs for the Super-G and the downhill, the other ski event she has entered on the World Cup.

As Italy's Sofia Goggia said: “She could never put it all together, but today she did". Veith was in shock: “My first reaction was, ‘Is this possible?" Even Ledecká herself didn't know what to think as the crowd went into stunned silence.

“Nothing was happening, and everybody was screaming,” she said. “I thought they were going to put a couple more seconds on my time. I was waiting for it.”

The crowd eventually started cheering loudly as the Czech still couldn't believe what was happening. After what she just achieved, neither could anyone else.

Czech set to make history

Ledecká will be the first athlete to ever to compete at the Olympics in both skiing and snowboarding. After her victory in the Super-G, she will race in the parallel giant slalom snowboarding event, where she is a strong contender for the gold medal.

A win there would further vault her into the Olympic record books as she would become the first Olympian to win gold medals in two different sports at the same Games. 

Showcasing her effervescent personality, Ledecká was asked why she kept her goggles on at the press conference shortly after the race to which she replied: “Because I was not as prepared as the other girls that would be at the ceremony. I didn't have any makeup on".

She also joked about her "skiing coach will be a little bit pushy after today” to enter the downhill and when asked how she could pull off both skiing and snowboarding, she quipped “Well, it’s down a hill, both of them, right? That’s the basics.” 

As the room broke into laughter, she added: “Well, it’s true.”

VAVEL Logo