Double Olympic champion Ester Ledecka said on Sunday that she was “too crazy” to be a role model after becoming the first woman to capture gold medals in different sports at the same Winter Games.
The Czech stunned the world of alpine skiing by winning the women’s super-G, in what was one of the biggest shocks in Winter Olympic history, and completed the double when she won snowboarding parallel giant slalom on Saturday.
Asked whether she was a role model, Ledecka replied: “No, better not, Really!
“I’m not a very good example, I’m too crazy!”
US stars Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin both called Ledecka an inspiration for the next generation of athletes after her unprecedented dual victory.
“As long as they have fun with what they’re doing and have the courage to stand by decisions and just go, then it’s possible for everyone,” Ledecka said.
“But not everyone wants to choose two sports.
“I had luck that I had a lot of people watching my back, my family supports me. Doing two sports is very expensive and it took some time for me to be able to pay my own team. I’m very grateful for how it is right now.”
The two-time world snowboarding champion also dismissed the notion that she had revolutionised the way women might now ski after her gung-ho approach to alpine racing that saw her beat out Austrian Anna Veith by a hundredth of a second in the super-G.
“I really don’t think about it this way to be honest. These two girls are very inspiring, I’ve been watching Lindsey since I was a little child and Mikaela since she started to race the World Cup,” Ledecka said.
“I love their style of riding and I hope to be as good as them.”
The use of the word “riding” made her ski coach Tomas Bank bristle.
“We don’t say riding, we say skiing!” Bank chided.
There has traditionally been little love lost in the age-old rivalry between skiing and snowboarding, the latter long seen as newcomers who have muscled in on the mountain scene.
“With the snowboarders on this side,” she said pointing to her snowboard coach Justin Reiter, “I say, ‘Damn skiers!’
“On this skiing side with Tomas I say, ‘Damn snowboarders!'” she added, suggesting she was not the conduit for remedying the apparent disconnect between the two sports.
That was reinforced by her tweet after winning the super-G, arguably contender for one of the best of the Games.
“Austria: We are the best in super-G! Swiss: No, we are the best! USA: Shut up, we are the best! Italia: Mamma mia! Ledecka: Hold my beer … and snowboard.”
Ledecka said her “biggest advantage” was that she was continuing to enjoy herself.
“As long as I have fun, as long as I do this for myself, I think it’s a good way and very special. Not all the girls have this all the time.
“As long as I’m on a hill, I feel like it’s home.”
Norway might have won the most medals of any country ever at a Winter Olympics but it has come at a cost – they have run out of commemorative, gold-coloured shoes.
The Scandinavians were sitting pretty at the top of the medals table on Saturday, the penultimate day of the Pyeongchang Games, with a record 38 medals, 13 of them gold.
That is more than the previous record of 37 won by the USA at Vancouver 2010.
But their gold rush has created a problem – albeit a nice one. Norway ran out of the eye-catching gold-coloured shoes that its triumphant athletes wear at medal ceremonies.
“After the men’s team event in ski jumping we ran out of stock,” said Nils Roine, chief communications officer of the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
“There alone another four pairs were handed out and with gold medals in both the men’s and the ladies’ cross-country relays, the shoes were ripped away.”
Roine said the Norwegian team in South Korea had surpassed all expectations.
“Our ambition was 30 medals in total, but no number was set for gold medals. We will anyhow do our best to provide our athletes with shoes if they win more,” Roine said.
Ester Ledecka sealed the first snowboard and skiing double victory in Olympic history on Saturday as she pulled off a stunning win in the women’s snowboard parallel giant slalom.
Ledecka, 22, beat Germany’s Selina Joerg in a tense snowboard final. Germany’s Ramona Hofmeister took bronze.
The Czech world champion and hot favourite had earlier shocked the world of alpine skiing by capturing gold in last week’s super-G skiing.
The men’s gold medal went to Nevin Galmarini of Switzerland, who beat South Korea’s surprise finalist Lee Sang-ho.
One week ago, Ledecka stunned a strong field including defending champion Anna Veith and American star Lindsey Vonn to win the super-G, becoming one of the stories of the Games.
Ledecka started skiing aged two and snowboarding at five and has competed at world championships in both events.
With Saturday’s win, Ledecka joins Norwegians Thorleif Haug and Johan Groettumsbraten as the only athletes to do a multi-sport double at the Winter Games.
Haug did the cross country and Nordic combined double at the 1924 Olympics and Grottumsbraten won the same events at the 1928 Games.
“She will definitely have a long-lasting impact,” American ski star Lindsey Vonn said earlier of Ledecka.
“With the next generation coming up, everyone wants to experience everything. Millennials are raw – being inclusive and trying other sports is important for them, as it should be.
“Ester can give them hope that competing and being successful in more than one sport is possible.”