It took Ester Ledecka a little less than a minute and half on Saturday to cement herself as one of the lasting stories of the PyeongChang Games.
The Czech Republic skier, whose self-professed best sport is snowboarding, came out of nowhere to win Saturday’s Super-G after everyone, the NBC broadcast included, had presumed Austrian skier and Sochi gold medalist Anna Veith had already secured gold.
But it was snowboarder Ledecka, using borrowed skis and having never finished higher than 29th in the event, who was the best Super-G skier in the world on Saturday. By .01 seconds.
Ledecka’s win is a remarkable story on its own, but Veith’s reaction, transitioning from shock to resignation to apparent admiration as she watched Ledecka cross the finish line, is priceless.
You'd be shocked, too.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 17, 2018
Veith shared her thoughts on the PyeongChang stunner with reporters after the event.
“First I thought it’s gold for sure because after 20 (skiers), we’ve never had it this season that someone would win (from that position),” Veith said. “For me it was a big surprise that she could do this.
“Afterwards, though, I thought that because she is not so much at the World Cup because she also does snowboard, we didn’t know how strong she is. I think she had a pretty good run, so she deserved it.”
Veith said she wasn’t unfamiliar with Ledecka, having seen her compete before and recognized that she had something special.
”The first time I saw Ester skiing was in Chile and I thought, ‘Wow, who is this?'” she said. “I talked to her and realized she is a really good snowboarder and windsurfer. She is multi-talented. I followed her, and thought it was a matter of time before she’d end up further in the front.”
But “further in the front” and Olympic gold are two different stratospheres. Ledecka chose the perfect day to have the run of a lifetime.
Congrats to both Ledecka and Veith for their performances and providing one of the best moments of the PeyongChang Games.
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