When snowboarder Ester Ledecka got to the bottom of the skiing Super G course at Pyeongchang, she thought the timekeepers had cocked up. “I thought this must be some mistake, that they’re going to switch the time for some others,” she said. But what she was reading was no error. The Czech snowboarder had just won the gold medal in one of the biggest upsets in Olympic skiing history.
Her victory was deemed so unlikely that US broadcaster NBC had already called the race for Austrian Anna Veith, a call they had to row back on embarrassingly. In their defence, it was the longest of long shots. Ledecka came into the race having never finished in the top 20 of a World Cup on skis before. She didn’t even own the pair of skis she competed on – she’d borrowed them off American alpine star Mikaela Shiffrin.
“Among the skiers she’d defeated was none other than Lindsey Vonn, who finished off down in sixth place.”
But regardless of the circumstances, this was an incredible feat of skill. Among the skiers she’d defeated was none other than Lindsey Vonn, who finished off down in sixth place. So how did a snowboarder end up claiming the top spot in one of the most prestigious ski disciplines?