The three-time Olympic champion became a world first when she won in two different disciplines – alpine skiing and snowboarding – at the 2018 Olympics. But that is not the end of Ester Ledecká’s sporting image.
“I was thinking about some summer sport, probably windsurfing. That would be nice in the summer, I won’t pack any more for the winter,” says Ester Ledecká (28) in an interview, which is part of the News List Gallery of Personalities project.
It sounds partly like a joke, but you can see that the winter sports champion is seriously thinking about it: “I would like to strive for it. The discipline I do is not in the Olympics yet. But I believe they will add her there.”
Windsurfing, which was taught to her by her father, musician and composer Janek Ledecký, is mainly devoted to windsurfing in the summer months during her stay in Greece, which she considers to be her third home after Prague and London.
She enjoyed the jokes that sprang up after she excelled in skiing and snowboarding at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, that is, that she just needs to demonstrate any sport and she is immediately a champion in it, but at the same time she says: “I am a terribly clumsy person. I’m quite good at sliding disciplines, sliding on snow, on water, but for example football, coordination and running sports, that’s not my discipline. I do a lot of sports and it looks like I’m talented at them too. But in the finale, it’s horribly screwed up. Even skiing with snowboarding is really hard for me.”
Ester Ledecká spends most of the year outside the Czech Republic due to sports preparations and competitions. She came to the Seznam Zpráv studio for an interview after a month’s training in Chile and a short stop in Italy. After the interview, she immediately flew to London and then to the races in Switzerland.
Instead of the Czech Republic France?
The holder of three Olympic gold medals (2018 and 2022), twenty victories in the World Cup, seven Crystal Globes and also the titles Sportsman of the Year and Sportsman of the Decade also talks about the complex negotiations with the Skiers’ Union of the Czech Republic in the interview. The proposed terms of cooperation with the sponsors were so limiting for Ester Ledecká and her team that there was a serious threat that she would not be able to represent the Czech Republic at international competitions without a contract with the association.
“At a certain point, I had to consider representing other countries. It was in play a few times,” says Ester Ledecká, mentioning offers from France and Liechtenstein. “Fortunately, it turned out that I can race for the Czech Republic.”
She says the Skiers’ Union kept her in check at one point. The disagreements “fortunately” partly coincided with the period when Ester could not compete anyway after last year’s clavicle fracture and two demanding operations: “But now our relations are settled. And I believe that the cooperation will be fine.”
Income from sponsors is absolutely essential for Ester Ledecká’s team. In order for her to continue riding at a top level, it requires permanent preparation and intensive cooperation with a five-person team. “On snowboarding I have a serviceman, a physiotherapist, a coach and on skiing I have two more coaches. So that’s five people I have to support. It’s not only the salary, but of course the plane tickets, accommodation, travel, etc.”
Together with her mother and manager, Ester Ledecká founded a so-called boutique agency that will offer professional services to other athletes as well. In addition, this year she completed her master’s degree at the University of Finance and Administration, majoring in marketing communication.
Being a gripen pilot
The sports champion, who loves speed not only on hills, but also when driving cars, also mentioned in the interview her dream for the period after an active sports career: “Dukla and I had an event where they showed us gripens. I thought to myself: ‘I would enjoy this. And I’m even small enough to fit in there.’ I asked how long it would take someone like me to become a gripen pilot. And they said in two years. So maybe after my career, I’ll still be able to, I hope. It’s one of many scenarios, I’d say.’
How do you feel about the top five most successful athletes in Czech history? What are the biggest advantages of champions? How does her team work? And what role did family play in her career?
You can listen to the interview now in the audio version at the beginning of the article – we will publish the full transcript and video recording of the interview on Saturday.