The multi-talented Czech star topped the downhill podium in Switzerland in a field stacked with Olympic gold-medallists.
Beijing 2022 snowboard Olympic champion Ester Ledecka underlined her versatility with an Alpine Ski World Cup victory in Crans Montana on Saturday 26 February.
The Czech athlete clocked 1:30.17 to finish in top spot, ahead of Norwegian Ragnhild Mowinckel (+0.21), and Cornelia Huetter (+0.42) from Austria.
Ledecka’s unique dual threat continues as she claimed the first downhill after the Beijing Games where she wore Olympic gold at the Beijing 2022 women’s snowboard parallel giant slalom event.
It’s a second World Cup downhill victory for Ledecka and her first World Cup win of the season, another remarkable moment in a remarkable career for the 26-year-old.
“The last time I was competing here I crashed in the net,” Ledecka said while still sitting on the leader’s seat at the bottom of the hill.
“But I ended up first this time… it’s a better feeling to come in the finish in one piece than crash in the net!”
Ledecka entered three alpine ski events at Beijing 2022, in addition to the snowboard parallel giant slalom where she won gold. She finished 27th in the women’s downhill, fifth in the Super-G and fourth in the women’s alpine combined.
“I also had a lot of fatigue, for sure,” laughed Ledecka, “In the last training I improved because I finished 14th and 15th, the worst trainings I’ve ever had. I didn’t get into today with much good feelings but with such beautiful weather and such a course it was difficult to not have fun.”
Swiss Olympic champs get hero’s welcome
Olympic downhill champ Corinne Suter, Super G gold medallist Lara Gut Behrami and combined winner Michelle Gisin were all involved at the event, but the dream homecoming didn’t materialise for the Swiss skiers.
Suter finished ninth, Gisin sixth, and Gut-Behrami came off a huge 28m jump to the left outside the gate and recorded a DNF.
That didn’t dampen the spirits of the Swiss crowd however, who enthusiastically cheered Priska Nufer’s best result ever in fourth.
Get ready for this star-studded ski cast to do it all again on Sunday morning (27 February).