Members of Olympic team back from the Winter Games in Pyeongchang

Kelvin Reese
March 1, 2018

The Czech snow star won the second leg of an unheard-of Olympic double Saturday, taking the gold medal in snowboarding's parallel giant slalom to go with her surprise skiing victory in the Alpine super-G seven days earlier.

A dream she has had since she was 5 years old was realized when she became the first woman to win a gold medal in two different sports at the Winter Games.

Having gone a second quicker than any competitor during qualification, Ledecka comfortably won each knockout race before beating Joerg by nearly half-a-second in the big final.

"It feels nearly unbelievable, but we came out here with great intensity and just had to believe we could do it, and make our shots", said America's Matt "Ham" Hamilton. "I enjoyed every run and I'm very happy to be here and stand on the highest place", she said.

And while she was pleased to be back on her snowboard, she said that making the transition from skis to snowboard had felt unusual at first. "From the start there were a lot of people who would say, "it's not possible to get to the top in both, '" she admitted". She spoke of the jaw-dropping lines that Ledecka carves on Alpine courses, a knack that Ledecka's snowboarding coach, Reiter, attributes to her experience maneuvering on a snowboard, which, because it has no steadying or stabilizing poles, requires seeing a mountain in a more imaginative way. She didn't take off her goggles at the post-race press conference because, she said, she "wasn't prepared to be at the ceremony and I don't have makeup on".

One of the best things about the Winter Olympics is always the unlikely stories that are written.

The Czech then blew away Austrian Daniela Ulbing, while Ramona Hofmeister was no match in the semifinal, wiping out as she tried in vain to catch Ledecka.

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Among those skeptics was Reiter, a US Olympic snowboarder himself in Sochi four years ago.

Michael Trapp, an American who trains with Ledecka in Colorado, said her passion, and persistence, more than her talent or versatility, is what sets her apart.

But going back and forth between both is not easy. Everyone was screaming. I thought, "OK, now it's weird".

The court said that she tested positive for the heart medication trimetazidine and admitted the offense, the fourth doping case to hit the Pyeongchang Olympics and second from Russian Federation.

"Today was a big day for snowboard Ester!". Her reasoning: she didn't have time to put on makeup.

Her victory in the parallel giant slalom, an event in which she is the reigning world champion, was far less of a shock.

"Yeah, you'll have to get used to it", she said with a laugh. This year she focused on her health and now has two gold medals to show for it.

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