Olympic champion Ledecká named Czech Sportsperson of Year

Ester Ledecká

Ester Ledecká has been crowned Czech Sportsperson of the Year for the second time. The 27-year-old took her third Olympic gold medal in Beijing – but perhaps surprisingly says that wasn’t the high point of her 2022.  

Ester Ledecká was named Czech Sportsperson of the Year at a ceremony at Prague’s Hilton Hotel on Wednesday night.

She received 1,593 votes in the 64th annual poll of sports journalists.

The 27-year-old finished more than 250 points ahead of her closest rivals, the tennis doubles pairing of Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková, while ice hockey star David Pastrňák came third.

Ledecká was previously named Sportsperson of the Year in 2018, the year she took Olympic gold in both parallel giant slalom, a snowboarding event, and the Super-G in alpine skiing.

It was the first time in history that a woman had topped the podium in two different sports at one Olympics.

This year, at the Beijing Games, Ledecká again won the parallel giant slalom, as well as finishing fifth in Super-G.

However, she said on Wednesday night that her latest Olympic triumph – Czechia’s only gold – wasn’t necessarily her greatest moment of 2022.

“To be honest, it probably wasn’t the main highlight for me, though I understand that it definitely was for you journalists, and for the public. But for me personally the highlight was probably that I managed to win World Cup events on both skis and the snowboard – that I was able to take on the best in the world in both sports. Naturally it’s great that I defended the Olympic title. But I think I performed great in skiing there too.”

The poll of 200-plus journalists took place over two rounds, with the first establishing the top 10 Czech sportspeople of the year. Ledecká said the shortlist reflected the high standard of sport in the country.

“Though we’re a small country, we have lots of sportspeople. Lots of great sportspeople didn’t make the top 10 just because the competition is so enormous. I think that’s great and I hope us sportspeople will continue to represent our country in a way that makes people proud.”

Her latest prize comes at a time when Ester Ledecká is not actually competing.

Ester Ledecká | Photo: Roman Vondrouš,  ČTK

She was forced to undergo surgery on her collarbone during the summer after breaking it during training. However, the initial operation did not prove a success and she had to have another one in November.

Her layoff means that she has not taken part in any World Cup events so far this season.

She is now focused on returning in the New Year, though it is not clear whether she will be ready for the World Ski Championships, which get underway in early February.

“I will of course do everything in my power to make sure I return as soon as possible. But I can’t guarantee to you that. I don’t know myself. I’m waiting to see what I’m allowed to do.”