Ledecka pulls off an unprecedented double gold with victory in snowboard event

Nathan Fenno, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Olympics

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea -- There wasn't any surprise this time.

Ester Ledecka completed one of the most unlikely feats in Olympic history by pumping her right fist in the air after she sped across the finish line for the snowboard parallel giant slalom at the Phoenix Snow Park. She hugged second-place Selina Joerg, then dropped to her knees as the crowd roared and she took in the victory.

This wasn't an ordinary moment at the Pyeongchang Olympics, wasn't an ordinary gold medal and certainly wasn't an ordinary Olympian.

The 22-year-old sensation from the Czech Republic became the first woman to win gold medals in different sports at the same Olympics, adding the snowboarding medal Saturday to last week's Alpine skiing gold.

Ledecka introduced herself to the world on the steep hill at the Jeongseong Alpine Center a week ago.

She entered the super-G ranked as the 68th-best skier in the world and starting 26th, not the position medal contenders usually come from. The big names, the favorites had already finished. Even NBC cut away, believing the race had been decided.

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Enter Ledecka.

Somehow, someway she blazed through the course faster than any other woman that day. When she looked up at the scoreboard and saw the time, she froze.

"I felt it was a mistake," Ledecka said afterward.

She stood in the finish area, not quite believing what had happened.


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