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Czech Republic's Ester Ledecka makes Winter Olympic history


Ester Ledecka became the first person in Winter Olympic history to win gold medals in both skiing and snowboarding after winning the snowboard parallel giant slalom on Saturday to go with her Alpine skiing super-G gold.

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.

After speeding to first in the parallel giant slalom, Ledecka said it was "fantastic" to win gold.

"But it is a great thing that I could be here in both sports and enjoy a career in both sports", she said.

Some might call her double gold the most remarkable accomplishment of any Winter Games given how hard it is to win on skis or board, never mind both; and all achieved by someone who sprinkles a little eccentricity on top of a unique sporting triumph. Ledecka finished first in the women's super-G in Alpine skiing, finishing several spots ahead of the decorated American skier Lindsey Vonn.

When Ester took to the slopes as a child, starting on skis and then strapping on a snowboard, her father Janek Ledecky - Czechs sometimes vary the last vowel of their family name depending on gender - recalled that he and his wife "were not pushy parents". Even her snowboard coach, Justin Reiter, the former United States snowboarder, doubted as recently as last fall that Ledecka could perform at a high level in both. "I hope I can stand on the podium in Beijing", Gong added.

It will be remembered as one of the great moments in Olympic history.

More than that, she's the third athlete to ever do so, and the first since 1932.




"Oh, no, it's impossible", said Ledecka's snowboard coach, Justin Reiter.

The latest offender, women's bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeyeva, has been kicked out after failing a test for a banned heart drug, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said.

"We did the best that we could to try to shelter her from you guys picking her bones clean".

"This year she prioritised her health over her training -- in the past she didn't rest enough so this year we managed everything as perfectly as can be".

And as she won her second gold, BBC commentator Graham Bell summed up the star's ability. "Just focusing on myself and my riding, and I think it helps me a lot in the race".

Ledecka revealed that it felt odd to go back-and-forth between the snowboard and skis. She said she did not feel good with her snowboarding here until the day before competition.

"Do whatever you want", she said. Her reason for doing so was just as it was seven days ago: she did not have time to put on make-up. She would've been disappointed to leave these Games with super-G gold but no snowboard medal.

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