PIC: Double Olympic champion Ester Ledecka. (Credit: AFP)
OLYMPICS | SNOWBOARD
SOUTH KOREA - Double Olympic champion Ester Ledecka said Sunday that she was "too crazy" to be a role model after becoming the first woman to capture gold medals in different sports at the same Winter Games.
The Czech stunned the world of alpine skiing by winning the women's super-G, in what was one of the biggest shocks in Winter Olympic history, and completed the double when she won snowboarding parallel giant slalom on Saturday.
Asked whether she was a role model, Ledecka replied: "No, better not, Really!
"I am not a very good example, I am too crazy!"
US stars Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin both called Ledecka an inspiration for the next generation of athletes after her unprecedented dual victory.
"As long as they have fun with what they are doing and have the courage to stand by decisions and just go, then it is possible for everyone," Ledecka said.
"But not everyone wants to choose two sports.
"I had luck that I had a lot of people watching my back, my family supports me. Doing two sports is expensive and it took some time for me to be able to pay my own team. I'm very grateful for how it is right now."
The two-time world snowboarding champion also dismissed the notion that she had revolutionised the way women might now ski after her gung-ho approach to alpine racing that saw her beat out Austrian Anna Veith by a hundredth of a second in the super-G.
"I really don't think about it this way to be honest. These two girls are very inspiring, I've been watching Lindsey since I was a little child and Mikaela since she started to race the World Cup," Ledecka said.
"I love their style of riding and I hope to be as good as them."
Skiing, not riding
The use of the word "riding" made her ski coach Tomas Bank bristle.
"We do not say riding, we say skiing!" Bank chided.
There has traditionally been little love lost in the age-old rivalry between skiing and snowboarding, the latter long seen as newcomers who have muscled in on the mountain scene.
"With the snowboarders on this side," she said pointing to her snowboard coach Justin Reiter, "I say, 'Damn skiers!'
"On this skiing side with Tomas I say, 'Damn snowboarders!'" she added, suggesting she was not the conduit for remedying the apparent disconnect between the two sports.
That was reinforced by her tweet after winning the super-G, arguably contender for one of the best of the Games.
"Austria: We are the best in super-G! Swiss: No, we are the best! USA: Shut up, we are the best! Italia: Mamma mia! Ledecka: Hold my beer ... and snowboard."
Ledecka said her "biggest advantage" was that she was continuing to enjoy herself.
"As long as I have fun, as long as I do this for myself, I think it's a good way and very special. Not all the girls have this all the time.
"As long as I'm on a hill, I feel like it is home."