She is a snowboarder. Who has just won Olympic gold in Alpine skiing. Ester Ledecka has rewritten all the rules.
The Czech athlete caused one of the biggest shocks at PyeongChang 2018, surprising the Super-G elite with an amazing run to win the competition.
Anna Veith of Austria looked all set for victory, but had to settle for silver after Ledecka’s late heroics.
Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein took the bronze, with USA’s Lindsey Vonn finishing fifth.
Ledecka’s late charge
It appeared as if Anna Veith was on course to become the first woman to defend an Olympic super G title.
But, starting with bib number 26, Ledecka produced a stunning late charge.
The 22-year old threw everything at it and finished in a time of 1 minute, 21.11 seconds. Quicker than the mark put down by Veith but only just.
Only 0.01 seconds separated the pair.
Nobody, not even Ledecka, could believe what had happened.
“This must be some mistake. They’re going to switch my time for some others. I just saw my mom, we were watching each other, we didn’t understand,” she said shortly afterwards.
But there was no mistake.
Fifth for Vonn
Lindsey Vonn was aiming to become the oldest woman to win an Olympic medal in Alpine skiing.
But the 33-year old will have to hope for better in the downhill competition next Tuesday. Vonn won that event at her last Olympics in Vancouver eight years ago.
A slight error near the bottom of her run forced her into soft snow and so ruled out any chance of a medal.
After only eight skiers had completed, the American was already out of contention.
Another chance at gold
Incredibly, Ledecka is better known for her snowboard prowess.
The Czech snatched gold in the Parallel giant slalom event at the World Championships last year.
She also took part in the Alpine skiing equivalent – becoming the first athlete to ever compete in both.
Ledecka will be among the favourites for the Olympic title when she returns to snowboarding next week. The parallel giant slalom competition takes place on 24th February at Phoenix Park in PyeongChang.
Can she become a gold medallist in two different sports at the same Games?
Whatever happens, she has upstaged them all in Alpine skiing. A truly remarkable athlete.