PRAGUE: Ester Ledecka, a shock champion in two different sports in Pyeongchang four years ago, refuses to even utter the word “Olympics” as she heads to the Beijing Winter Games.
Four years ago in Pyeongchang, the 26-year-old Czech won a surprise gold in the alpine skiing super-G event before adding another in her favoured event, the snowboarding parallel giant slalom.
It made her the first athlete to win events in both alpine skiing and snowboarding at the same Olympics.
In the super-G, Ledecka edged odds-on favorite Anna Veith of Austria by the narrowest of margins, with just one hundredth of a second separating the two.
Genuinely stunned, Ledecka did not even celebrate, staring at the scoreboard in disbelief for several seconds before a TV cameraman assured her she had won.
A week later, as hot favorite, she won the parallel giant slalom to make history.
She insists the Beijing Olympics are no more than “a little friendly match” – a term she and her team have adopted to ease the pre-event pressure.
If they utter the word “Olympics“, they must pay a ten-euro ($11) fine.
“I took this precaution mainly because everyone starts behaving like a complete lunatic before ‘the friendly’,” she said.
“The media hype about Olympic races — oops, there goes 10 euros – takes on massive proportions and everyone gets so crazy that they believe it might be something absolutely special even for me,” she added.