The Czech Republic’s Ester Ledecka won Olympic gold in the super G in Pyeongchang on Saturday, pipping defending champion Anna Veith of Austria by one one-hundredth of a second to cause what some, including one very excited Eurosport commentator, are calling the biggest upset in the 94-year history of the Winter Olympic games.
Ledecka was favoured to win a gold medal in Pyeongchang but it was expected to come in the snowboard parallel giant slalom, the event in which the 22-year-old is already the reigning world champion, next Thursday. However, with only a couple of years competitive skiing experience at the highest level behind her and not even one podium finish in the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup to her name, she was not considered to be in medal contention in any of the skiing events she was scheduled to compete in – the giant slalom, the super G, and the alpine combined.
On Thursday last, Ledecka finished 23rd in the giant slalom and expressed her satisfaction with the result on Facebook.
“Fantastic 23rd place in giant slalom!” she wrote.
Just a couple of days later, however, Ledecka’s performance in the super G would leave the athlete herself in a state of utter disbelief.
By the time Ledecka set off on her run, becoming the 26th skier to descend the slope, Veith was already being declared the gold medal winner by most. All of highest ranked athletes had completed their runs, so the 28-year-old Salzburg native’s time of 1:21:12 looked pretty safe.
When she crossed the line and a time of 1:21:11 flashed up on the screen, Ledecka just stared blankly before eventually turning, shaking her head and uttering an incredulous “No” into the camera.
She would later tell Eurosport that she thought there had been a mistake.
Check out the amazing moment below…
You can also listen to the ecstatic Czech commentary here…
— Martin Dybala (@_Marthas_) February 17, 2018
Making the story all the more incredible is the fact that Ledecka, ranked 43rd in the world for the super G event, was using ski’s that she had borrowed from Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States, who claimed gold in the giant slalom but dropped out of the super G.
When she sets off down the slope for the snowboard parallel giant slalom on Thursday, Ledecka will become the first athlete, male or female, to ever compete at a Winter Olympic games on both the skis and the board. She also looks to be in with a great chance of becoming the first to ever win medals on both apparatuses.