Ledecká wins second gold at Olympics

Kristopher Nichols
February 26, 2018

Ledecka started skiing aged two and snowboarding at five, but only started on the skiing circuit in 2016.

Ester Ledecka became the first woman to claim gold medals in two sports at a Winter Olympics with a win in the snowboarding parallel giant slalom.

Ledecka defeated Germany's Selina Joerg in the final by 0.46 seconds to claim the gold.

This was no miracle on snow, a la her.01-second victory in the super-G that left her stone-faced and unbelieving at the bottom of the hill, wondering if there had been some kind of mistake.

"I don't feel like that but it sounds good, for sure", said Ledecka after her stunning win. Her fifth run, the very last of the final, was then a victory lap with gold already clinched.

"Even underneath the suit, I get goosebumps talking about it", Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen of Norway said. Germany's Romana Hofmeister took the bronze.

Kim Bo-reum added a silver for South Korea in the women's race. Czech snowboarder Ester Ledecka will race in the parallel giant slalom event, where she's a world champion and an Olympic favorite. "I've never really been good at anything but racing", she said.

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By winning gold in both snowboard and Alpine skiing, Ledecka has challenged the conventional wisdom regarding what is achievable, and she had a message for any youngsters who might wish to follow in her footsteps and aim for success on both skis and snowboard.

Whenever Ledecka returns from her skiing exploits, Reiter said, it is akin to having to polish a rough diamond all over again. Jan Klapac, her grandfather, is an Olympic hockey player who won bronze in 1964, and silver in 1968, with the Czechoslovakian team.

"It's just a really cool feeling to feel that the whole team succeeded today", Nina Haver-Loeseth said after Norway edged France for the bronze. "I think maybe Ester can give them hope that competing and being successful in more than one sport is possible".

"Skiing helps me a lot because I am not afraid of the speed". Leading 2-1, Swiss ski racer Daniel Yule wrapped up the win when Austrian rival Marco Schwarz skied out along the side-by-side parallel slalom course.

Iivo Niskanen of Finland leapt for joy, skis in hand, after winning the gold medal in the men's 50-kilometer cross-country skiing competition. "Tomorrow is a new day. And she is going home with two gold medals in her pocket", he said. Toutant earned scores of 89.50 and 84.75 in his best two runs, enough to edge American Kyle Mack.

Ter Mors and Ledecka, who was the first woman to compete in snowboarding and skiing in the same Olympics, nevertheless have upended the belief, propagated in modern-day youth sports in the United States and elsewhere, that early specialization is the one clear path to the Olympic podium.

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