In a surprising finish that shocked even Ester Ledecka herself, the Czech snowboarder and Alpine skier claimed the top spot in the Pyeongchang Olympic super-G.
Ledecka was the 26th racer down the hill and made a stunning run from back in the pack, blazing through the course in a time of 1 minute, 21.11 seconds.
"How did that happen?" Ledecka was heard saying at the end of her run.
Defending champion Anna Veith of Austria earned the silver, finishing 0.01 seconds back, and Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein captured bronze.
The first racer out of the starting gate, American Lindsey Vonn, had a fast run down the hill at Jeongseon Alpine Center before skidding off course near the finish line cost her valuable time. She finished the course in 1:21.49.
"I'm disappointed but I'm not upset," Vonn said in an interview after her run. "I gave it my all and that's all I can do."
Vonn is expected to return to the snow Tuesday in the downhill.
The start for the women's super-G was delayed by an hour because of strong winds.
Vonn won a bronze in the super-G at the 2010 Vancouver Games, where she also won a gold medal in the downhill. The 33-year-old American missed the 2014 Sochi Olympics after surgery on her right knee.
“Obviously I’ve been waiting a very long time for these Olympics,” Vonn said. “Had a lot of ups and downs since Vancouver...I feel like I’m coming into these Olympics on a hot streak. I’m skiing exceptionally well. I have a lot of confidence.” On Twitter, Vonn dedicated her upcoming race to her grandfather, who died in November.
Vonn is the all-time winningest female Alpine skier with 81 World Cup wins. Her biggest rival recently has been Italian Sofia Goggia. The two have developed a friendly rivalry and have finished 1-2 in several World Cup races this season. After Vonn edged the Italian in the last two World Cup races before the Olympics, Goggia pointed to Vonn and said, “Korea! Korea!”
“We are playing a little game with each other,” Vonn said. “It makes it more exciting for us and also for the spectators.”
“From the start gate to the red finish line, it’s a battle. But after, we are friends,” Goggia said. “This is the rivalry that I like.”