It's a result so shocking that the winning racer didn't even believe she had won, and NBC wasn't even bothering to broadcast: Czech snowboarder (you read that right) Ester Ledecka, noteworthy for being a pioneer in crossing over from snowboarding into Alpine skiing, shocked the skiing world by winning the women's Super G today.
You'd be shocked, too.— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 17, 2018
Ester Ledecka, a world champion SNOWBOARDER, shocks the field to win a surprise-gold by 0.01 in alpine skiing women's super-G! #WinterOlympics https://t.co/YtEpNzDMDu pic.twitter.com/EeoHuALcKX
Ledecka has shown some speed in the alpine season this year (yes, I am actually crazy enough to watch World Cup skiing on a regular basis, give me a break I live in Duluth) but this is totally unexpected. She was, by her own testimony, certain that there was a mistake, and she had beaten a field of great performances (including Lindsey Vonn, who lost due to a mistake late in an otherwise great run, and favorites like Lara Gut and Tina Weirather). Her gaping expression is, in its own way, one of the great gold medal reactions of all time.
NBC had already anointed Anna Veith (a good comeback story in her own right) as the gold medal winner, repeating her performance from Sochi, and cut away to figure skating. They're getting roasted for this but it's pretty standard practice in downhill and super G to pencil in the winner before everyone has raced; the best racers all race in the first 20 spots, both for dramatic purposes and to avoid the inevitable breakdown in the course as racer after racer chews it up. The last 25 or so racers are people that finish seconds after everyone else. Late-race surprises will happen every couple of years, but not frequently.
Kinda makes this all the more fun. Both Super Gs at the Olympics have been terrific.