It took a comically long time for her unexpected success to register.
By all accounts, Ester Ledecká should have just been happy to be competing in the skiing Super-G event at the Olympics. She may be a world-class snowboarder, but the Czech athlete had been competing in the skiing event for only two years and had never placed higher than 29th in a competition.
With inclement weather a factor, American star Mikaela Shiffrin decided to forgo the event, but that still left the reigning champ and front-runner Anna Veith in the race as the heavy favorite. However, in an unlikely turn of events, Ledecká, using skis she had actually borrowed from Shiffrin, managed to eke out the most shocking win of the Olympics, besting Veith by just one-hundredth of a second to win the gold medal.
Fans couldn’t believe it. Her competition couldn’t believe it. But most memorably, Ledecká herself couldn’t believe it as she looked around, completely perplexed by the outcome.
Here it is unfolding in a video:
Wait... What..??? Czech Ester Ledecka, a world champion snowboarder borrowed @MikaelaShiffrin ’s skis to win… https://t.co/mizf3lJvsc— Steven M. Smith (@Steven M. Smith) 1518856735
And for the race itself, it can be seen here:
The best is that Ledecká still has her snowboarding slalom event ahead of her, a race where she’s actually favored. Even though it’s not over yet, it’s safe to say these Winter Olympics have been a career-defining moment for her already.