Winter Olympics: Ester Ledecka wins second gold medal in Pyeongchang

Thursday, 01 Mar, 2018

Ester Ledecka became the first person in Winter Olympics history to capture gold medals in both Alpine skiing and snowboarding when she won the snowboard parallel giant slalom on Saturday to go with her stunning Alpine super-G gold.

Team USA got its ninth gold on the penultimate day of the Games as the men's curling team won over Sweden in the final while Norway's bronze medal in the Alpine skiing team event helped the country reach a record 38 medals at a single Winter Olympics.

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.

Asked if she was the "queens of the Games", Ledecka said: "I don't feel like that but it sounds good, for sure".

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. She's the first cross-country skier to carry the US flag into an Olympic ceremony since Bill Koch did the honors at Albertville's opening in 1992. Even her snowboard coach, Justin Reiter, the former USA snowboarder, doubted as recently as last fall that Ledecka could perform at a high level in both.

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

"I hope they are feeling great and I say thanks to my team because they did an incredible job again".

Ester Ledecka may claim to have a split personality with two personas, "Ester the skier" and "Ester the snowboarder".

She had little trouble in the early stages, ranking first in the qualification round, which earned her first selection of lane's when heading to the knockout stages.

With Saturday's gold, Ledecak joined Norwegians Thorleif Haug and Johan Groettumsbraten as the only athletes to do a multi-sport double in the same Olympic Games.

"I wish I had as much athleticism as she has", American downhill star Lindsey Vonn said.

Ledecka revealed that it felt unusual to go back-and-forth between the snowboard and skis. Shiffrin added with a laugh, "I thought this sport was hard, but apparently not".

"But each time we get Ester back on the snowboard side, it's like chunk of coal". Her reason for doing so was just as it was seven days ago: she did not have time to put on make-up.

Her victory in the parallel giant slalom, an event in which she is the reigning world champion, was far less of a shock. This was just the latest and greatest way she did so.

"It is great honour to be the first Korean medallist in snowboarding", Lee said.

He was followed by Russian athlete Alexander Bolshunov, who ended 18.7 seconds behind. This year she focused on her health and now has two gold medals to show for it.