Ledecka writes history and Galmarini takes Gold
Ester Ledecka (CZE) and Nevin Galmarini (SUI) have claimed the last snowboard titles of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games triumphing in the parallel giant slalom staged in the Bokwang Phoenix Park today.
Both World Cup leaders kept the momentum from a so far extremely successful season underlining their legal claim for Gold by posting the best qualifier times in the respective women's and men's event.
And both riders kept on dominating when the knock out rounds finally got underway under a blue bird sky and in front of a huge audience with the stances of the Bokwang Phoenix Park sold out.
In the women's event, the Czech superstar wrote history by not only taking the second ever Olympic snowboard medal but also by becoming the third athlete two win Gold in two different events at a single Olympic Winter Games having won the super-G race just a few days ago.
“(It’s) fantastic, really,” Ledecka said of her second victory at PyeongChang 2018. “I enjoyed every run, and I’m very happy to be here and stand on the highest place.
As long as I have fun with both (skis and the snowboard) I will probably do both and we’ll see what happens.”
The 22-year-old edged off Germany's Selina Joerg to second in the big final who therefore ended her personal major event trauma after missing the podium as fourth eight years ago and at the 2015 FIS Snowboard World Championships in Austria.
“I’ve worked for this for so many years,” Joerg explained. “I got the fourth place in Vancouver and fourth place in the world championships and finally I’ve got this medal - it’s amazing.”
Joerg's teammate Ramona Hofmeister stormed to third in her Olympic debut crossing the finish line first in the small final against 2014 Bronze medallist Alena Zavarzina (RUS).
In the men's event, Galmarini stepped from Silver in 2014 to Gold in 2018 by controlling the title battle against South Korea's favourite and biggest surprise of the day Sangho Lee who earned the first Olympic snowboard medal and the first one on snow for his home country since snowboarding got added to the programme back in 1998.
“The last one, the Silver was already like Gold,” Galmarini recalled. “For me it was an incredible day back then in Sochi and today, I don’t know, it’s a different level.
I’m still trying to realise (what has happened). It’s awesome. (My friends and family) are all at home, but my phone is vibrating all the time, so they are having a party.”
Galmarini's medal was the first snowboard medal for Switzerland's at PyeongChang 2018 and its 13th in total at the Olympic Winter Games, surpassing France for second-most. Only USA (31) has won more Olympic medals in snowboarding so far.
Zan Kosir (SLO), who had earned two medals four years ago, crowned an impressive comeback after a long injury break winning the small final against France's Sylvain Dufour, after he had missed his chance for Gold losing the semi final against Lee by only one hundredths of a second.