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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Ester Ledecka, of the Czech Republic, won the gold medal Saturday in the women's parallel giant slalom. A week ago, she won the gold medal in the super-G in Alpine skiing.

Sunday, February 25, 2018 1:00 am

Unheard of double golds

Super-G champ wins on snowboard, too

EDDIE PELLS | Associated Press

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – When the book is closed on these Olympics – all Olympics, really – Ester Ledecka will have her own chapter.

Though they're both on snow, skiing and snowboarding are simply not supposed to mix.

Though she could have been expected to win at one, nobody was supposed to do what she did.

The Czech speed racer did what was considered impossible a mere week ago. She nabbed the second half of an unheard-of Olympic double by winning gold in snowboarding's parallel giant slalom Saturday, seven days after doing the same in skiing's Alpine super-G.

“Do whatever you want,” Ledecka said, when asked what the takeaway should be from her Olympic journey. “If you want to choose just one, choose one. I wanted to choose both, and a lot of people were telling me that it's not possible to get on the top in both. And, I mean, obviously, this. It is not easy.”

The 22-year-old from Prague made it look easy on the last day of competition at the action park in an event that is usually considered an afterthought on the snowboarding program – but not this time.

This was no miracle on snow, a la her 0.01-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. Ledecka came into that event having started in only 19 World Cup skiing races in her entire career.

She came into Saturday's event with 14 wins, 20 podiums and two world championships on the World Cup snowboarding tour. This was her day job. She made it look that way with a wire-to-wire exhibition of tight carving, perfect lines and pure domination. Nobody could've been too surprised.

In PGS, the real action occurs over four elimination rounds – one-on-one racing in which the winners advance.

In a sport often decided by micro-fractions, Ledecka won one race when her opponent skidded off the course, and the others by margins of 0.97 second, 0.71 second and, in the final, by 0.46 seconds over Germany's Selina Joerg.