Ledecka seals stunning double, Norway sets medals mark

Ester Ledecka made history with an unprecedented snowboard and skiing double, while Norway’s all-conquering team set a new record for medals at a Winter Olympics.

Czech Republic's Ester Ledecka made history with an unprecedented snowboard and skiing double.   -  AFP

Ester Ledecka made history with an unprecedented snowboard and skiing double on Saturday, while Norway’s all-conquering team set a new record for medals at a Winter Olympics.

As President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka descended on the Games in Pyeongchang, world champion Ledecka reigned supreme with a confident victory in the women’s parallel giant slalom.

It came after last week’s shock super-G win for Ledecka, daughter of a Czech rock star, who has stunned ski purists and confounded logic by taking gold in two very different events.

With Saturday’s win, Ledecka joins Thorleif Haug and Johan Groettumsbraten as the only athletes to achieve a multi-sport double at the Winter Games. Both Norwegians won in cross-country and Nordic combined.

Read: Russia’s Sergeeva kicked out of Olympics for doping

As Ledecka rewrote the rules, Norway took bronze in the inaugural alpine skiing team event to reach 38 medals, breaking the record of 37 set by the United States in 2010.

Norway, led by its peerless cross-country skiers, have enjoyed a barnstorming Olympics. One day before the closing ceremony, they top the table with Germany on 13 golds, but with a vastly superior overall medals total.

Norway’s haul had also been boosted when Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten were promoted to bronze in the mixed doubles curling, after Russia’s Alexander Krushelnitsky failed a drugs test.

- Curling USA -

The International Olympic Committee’s executive board held lengthy talks but failed to decide whether to lift the suspension of Russia, two of whose athletes have failed drug tests during the Games.

The latest offender, women’s bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeyeva, has been kicked out after failing a test for a banned heart drug, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said.

Russia’s Olympic committee was suspended in December over mass doping, but the IOC let 168 heavily vetted Russian athletes compete in Pyeongchang under a neutral flag as “Olympic Athletes from Russia”.

In alpine skiing, in-form Wendy Holdener led Switzerland to victory in the new team event, with Austria taking silver ahead of Norway with the bronze.

Iivo Niskanen won Finland’s first gold medal in Pyeongchang in the men’s 50km cross-country skiing, while Lee Seung-hoon delighted home fans with victory in the inaugural men’s mass start speed skating. Japan’s Nana Takagi won the women’s race.

Ivanka Trump’s whirlwind Olympic schedule included the men’s big air snowboard final, another debut event, where Canada’s Sebastien Toutant won gold.

America’s Kyle Mack took silver in big air but there were more treats for Trump at the curling, where the US men’s team -- a surprise hit back home -- beat Sweden 10-7 to win the title for the first time.

“It feels almost unbelievable, but we came out here with great intensity and just had to believe we could do it, and make our shots,” said America’s Matt ‘Ham’ Hamilton.

Either Norway or Germany could edge ahead at the top of the gold medal standings, with four-man bobsleigh, men’s ice hockey, women’s curling and cross country still in play before the Games close on Sunday.

As IOC deliberations continue on Russia’s suspension, the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” prepare to play Germany in the ice hockey final on Sunday.