Ester Ledecka seals status as Winter Olympics snow queen with double gold


Ester Ledecka made history with an unprecedented snowboard and skiing double on Saturday, while Norway's all-conquering team set a new record for medals at a Winter Olympics.

The Czech athlete - who also picked up gold in Alpine skiing - becomes the first athlete ever to win both those events at a Winter Olympic Games.

And after progressing through the rounds comfortably, she easily beat German Selina Jorg by more than half a second in the final. She hopes her family is feeling great and said that she was proud of her team and coach. "I enjoyed every run and I' m very happy to be here and stand on the highest place".

On a snowboard and skis, Ester Ledecka is a history-making Olympic gold medalist.

So unprepared was she for skiing success that this daughter of a famous Czech musician turned up to her press conference wearing goggles because, in her own words, "I don't have any make up on". Although, according to her coach Justin Reiter, this shouldn't have happened.

"But as long as I'm on the hill, I feel like it's home and I feel very good".

"So maybe Ester can give them hope that competing and being successful in more than one sport is possible", Vonn said.

With just one day out, Norway leads the medals table on 13 golds while China, next host of the Winter Olympics, is 16th with one gold. When it was pointed out to the Czech that she was the only one at the Games who had won gold medals in two different sports, she casually shrugged her shoulders and simply said: "Whatever".

But the athlete herself remained level headed in the immediate aftermath of her remarkable triumph.

Mike Trapp, a US Olympic parallel giant slalom snowboarder from Cape Cod who trains alongside Ledecka under Reiter, said being able to do two sports, like Ledecka, at some point comes down to the heart of the athlete, and that is why Ledecka has excelled.

"I can push myself further and there are still mistakes in skiing and snowboarding and I want to improve myself", she said. Suddenly, she was an Olympic champion.

"We did the best that we could to try to shelter her from you guys picking her bones clean". Shiffrin added with a laugh, "I thought this sport was hard, but apparently not".

"Today was a big day for snowboard Ester!". But she had different plans this time.

Her victory in the parallel giant slalom, an event in which she is the reigning world champion, was far less of a shock.

But Niskanen attacked early - less than 20km into the race - and held off the competition to win by 18.7sec from Russians Alexander Bolshunov and Andrey Larkov.

For Joerg, the silver medal could be regarded as a long-awaited redemption after she narrowly missed out on a medal in Vancouver eight years ago.