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Winter Olympics 2018: Veith admirably gracious after Ledecka snatches gold

18 February 2018

Snowboarder Ester Ledecka made Olympic history for the Czech Republic on February 17 when she delivered a huge upset and won the top spot ahead of Lindsey Vonn in the Women's super-G.

Ledecka, who will also compete in the snowboard parallel giant slalom, is ranked 43rd in the World Cup standings and Czech commentators thought a win so unlikely that they focused on her mistakes during the run before bursting into screams of joy when they realised she had won gold. "I feel like in the Olympics a lot of things can happen, it's not that she didn't deserve it, but there's a lot of pressure on the favorites". When this 22-year-old boarder crossed the finish line Saturday with the best time in the super-G, she did a double-take at her name atop the leader board and thought: "This must be some mistake".

The defending Olympic champion in the ladies' super-G, Veith looked to have retained her title as she sat in gold medal position with all of the leading contenders for glory having completed their runs. It just gives me more motivation going into these Olympics.

Men and women rarely race on the same courses, which are set according to different guidelines, with men's courses requiring a greater change in elevation.

Ledecka was so unprepared to win a medal that she hadn't worn makeup.

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She caused controversy in December saying she wasn't competing for the president but told Twitter trolls "if they don't like me, their loss".

Yet perhaps the most remarkable aspect of her wholly unexpected victory is that it came on a pair of skis borrowed from the USA's Mikaela Shiffrin, who had dropped out of the super-G competition. I'm proud of the way I skied and how I attacked the course. Vonn drew the first starting position and was about to post a strong run when she lost control three gates from the finish and almost crashed. She has a very good record at world championships. In the women's Super-G race, skiers take just one run down the hill.

'I'm not fully healed, I really pushed it hard and there were some jumps and elements that I could not perform, but I forced myself to do so, said Hanyu, who damaged ankle ligaments in November.

All the same, she was back, skiing on Olympic snow: "It was wonderful".

The Alpine skier crashed during a downhill race in Germany.

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When she was asked about the people who have told her to specialize in either skiing or snowboarding, Ledecka replied that if she were pressured to choose one sport, she would choose another coach, instead. In snowboarding, though, she placed sixth in the parallel slalom and seventh in GS.

Ledecka is primarily a snowboarder, and has only competed in Super-G for two years.

Before today, Ledecka had been most well-known as a snowboarder - that's where she's had the most success, including world titles and a trip to the Sochi Games in 2014. I didn't really have a choice in the matter so I did the best that I could.

Vonn added: "It's definitely shocking".

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Winter Olympics 2018: Veith admirably gracious after Ledecka snatches gold