Ledecká preparing for Olympic fight on two fronts

Ester Ledecká, photo: Luboš Vedral

Ester Ledecká is preparing to compete in not one but two sports at the 2018 Winter Olympics: snowboarding and skiing.

Ester Ledecká,  photo: Luboš Vedral
It’s still five months until the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang but the Czech Republic’s athletes are already getting ready for the big event. Among them is Ester Ledecká, who has a world champion’s medal in snowboard parallel slalom but is also now competing in a second sport: alpine skiing. I asked the 22-year-old how difficult it was to combine training in both.

“It’s not very easy, due to the schedule and everything. In the season the races do overlap.

“But in the end if you really, really want to do it, it’s possible.”

Do you prioritise either of them?

“Not yet. I think I do both fifty-fifty.

“In skiing I maybe do a little bit more, because there are more races, in between the snowboard races.

“In snowboarding I just do the World Cup races and in skiing I do FIS races and also European cups.”

Would an Olympic medal in either mean more than in the other?

“Not for me. Not yet. For now it looks that I have a bigger chance of a medal in snowboarding.

“But I will for sure try to be the best in both and then we’ll see.”

You were already very successful in snowboarding when you announced you were also going to compete in Alpine skiing. What was the reaction to your decision to do both?

“I had already decided to do when I was very young. I was always doing both side by side.

“But in the last two years since I decided to take part in the World Cup in both sports the press and all the people around started to go, OK, she’s really doing both.

“They even thought I had just decided to do both but I was doing that since I was a child.

“Both here in the Czech Republic and when I’ve been around the world they always say, How is it possible?

“But for me this is the only way.”

Ester Ledecká,  photo: Stefan Brending,  CC BY-SA 3.0 de
Do some people feel that you’re kind of greedy to want medals, and I suppose places, in both sports? Maybe somebody else won’t now get a place to do one of those sports.

“I don’t know. I mean, I’m trying to get all the medals, that’s true.

“They need to be faster than me if they want a medal. But I will fight [laughs].”

Looking forward to Pyeongchang, what would you consider a satisfactory Winter Olympics for you?

“That’s difficult to say.

“I would like to enjoy all the races there – that’s the main goal.”

But you must be thinking you’d like the gold.

“Not so much. I don’t think about the races this way

“I think about getting the job done, the way I learned in training.

“I cannot do more than I have been trained for. I just want to do what I’ve trained to do.”

This is perhaps off the point, but I know your father Janek Ledecký’s musicals are very popular in South Korea. Have you ever been there with him?

“No, not yet. He asked me to go this spring but I had other things to do so I couldn’t join his trip.

“He was there for the premiere of his new show.

“I’m really looking forward to getting there.

“It’s kind of funny that he was there first and he is very successful there – they love him.

“So we’ll see if someone can connect this with me also [laughs].”