Ester Ledecka froze as she crossed the finish line after her Super-G run in PyeongChang, South Korea, on Saturday.
The 22-year-old from the Czech Republic slowly looked around, seemingly in shock.
She didn’t realize what had happened.
Here’s the thing: Ledecka wasn’t supposed to medal. NBC didn’t expect it, which is why the network had already cut away from the Super-G having declared Austria’s Anna Veith the winner even though the event wasn’t over. And Ledecka didn’t expect it, either. She’s a snowboarder first — she has won multiple World Championships in the parallel slalom events.
But when her turn came, the 26th skier to start, she threw down the run of the Games, finishing with a time of 1:21.11 — .01 quicker than Veith, who wound up with the silver, not the gold.
Suddenly, Ledecka was in the lead … and she couldn’t believe it.
But NBC had left coverage of the Super-G to show Adam Rippon’s free skate live.
Sure. Rippon is great. But they gambled and it’s the 1 in 10,000 gamble where viewers missed something historic live. No MMQB here: I would have made the same decision but still a brutal result. https://t.co/xeYTaQfrPu
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) February 17, 2018
NBC returned to show Ledecka’s winning run, and awarded her the gold medal, and though while competition was still going on, it worked out for them this time.
Ledecka quickly garnered support from all across social media, most notably from United States Olympic swimmer Kadie Ledecky.
— Katie Ledecky (@katieledecky) February 17, 2018
Ledecka will compete in the snowboard giant slalom next week in PyeongChang, becoming the first person in history to compete in both skiing and snowboarding in the same games.
Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather won the bronze in the Super-G with a time of 1:21.22. American Lindsey Vonn, who slipped in the final stretch of her run, tied for sixth with a time of 1:21.48.
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