Ester Ledecká (Czech pronunciation: [ˈɛstɛr ˈlɛdɛtskaː], born 23 March 1995) is a Czech snowboarder and alpine skier. She is the first Czech to win the parallel giant slalom in snowboarding at the FIS Snowboard World Cup.
Ledecká was born in Prague, to mother Zuzana, a figure skater and father Janek, a well-known singer in the Czech Republic. She comes from a sporting family: her grandfather is former ice hockey player and two-time Olympic medallist Jan Klapáč. In 2014, she was still at high school, attending a distance-learning programme in Prague. Ice hockey was the first sport she took up as a child, before taking up skiing at the age of four and later switching to snowboarding. Her hobbies include playing the guitar and singing. She also enjoys participating in summer sports such as beach volleyball and windsurfing.
She competed in her first World Cup tournament in 2012–13 competition, finishing in 13th place in the parallel giant slalom event.
In March 2013 at the age of 17, Ledecká won gold in the parallel slalom event at the Junior World Championships, her second gold of the competition.
She was named "Junior Sportsperson of the year" at the Czech Republic's 2013 Sportsperson of the Year awards.
During the 2013–14 FIS Snowboard World Cup, she placed second behind Patrizia Kummer in the first parallel slalom event in Bad Gastein and third in the second event. She subsequently won gold at Rogla in the parallel giant slalom event at the same competition, becoming the first Czech to do so. In doing so, she also became just the third Czech to win any World Cup snowboarding event.
Ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, The Daily Telegraph's Andrew Lawton mentioned Ledecká as the "one to watch" in the women's snowboarding competition. She was among the Czech athletes most expected to win a medal at the games, along with Martina Sáblíková, Gabriela Soukalová and fellow snowboarder Eva Samková. After Ledecka had finished ninth in qualifying for the Alpine skiing event at the Winter Olympics, the Czech Ski Association attempted to register her as a competitor, however the FIS rejected the proposal, reiterating that only eight Czechs could compete.
Ledecká made her Olympic debut on 19 February 2014 in the parallel giant slalom snowboarding event. She reached the quarter final stage before being eliminated by Patrizia Kummer, who went on to win the goal medal in the event. Ledecká was classified as seventh overall.
Ledecká has combined her snowboarding career with competing in alpine skiing: she made her debut on the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup in February 2016, finishing 24th in her first race, the Kandahar downhill in Garmisch. She went on to score points in four of her first five World Cup races, competing in the downhill and Super-G disciplines. She has stated that she hopes to compete in both skiing and snowboarding at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
World Cup results
All results are sourced from the International Ski Federation (FIS).
- 3 titles – (2 parallel overall, 1 parallel giant slalom)
|Parallel Giant Slalom|
- 9 wins – (7 PGS, 2 PSL)
- 15 podiums – (9 PGS, 6 PSL)
|2013–14||10 January 2014||Bad Gastein, Austria||Parallel Slalom||2nd|
|12 January 2014||Parallel Slalom||3rd|
|18 January 2014||Rogla, Slovenia||Parallel Giant Slalom||1st|
|2014–15||9 January 2015||Bad Gastein, Austria||Parallel Slalom||1st|
|7 February 2015||Sudelfeld, Germany||Parallel Giant Slalom||1st|
|28 February 2015||Asahikawa, Japan||Parallel Giant Slalom||3rd|
|2015–16||12 December 2015||Carezza, Italy||Parallel Giant Slalom||1st|
|23 January 2016||Rogla, Slovenia||Parallel Giant Slalom||1st|
|30 January 2016||Moscow, Russia||Parallel Slalom||3rd|
|27 February 2016||Kayseri, Turkey||Parallel Giant Slalom||1st|
|2016–17||15 December 2016||Carezza, Italy||Parallel Giant Slalom||2nd|
|17 December 2016||Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy||Parallel Slalom||1st|
|28 January 2017||Rogla, Slovenia||Parallel Giant Slalom||1st|
|5 March 2017||Kayseri, Turkey||Parallel Giant Slalom||1st|
|18 March 2017||Winterberg, Germany||Parallel Slalom||2nd|
World Championships results
- 3 medals – (2 gold, 1 silver)
|2011 La Molina||15||40||33|
|2017 Sierra Nevada||21||2||1|
|2017 St. Moritz||21||21||29||37||–||20|