Ledecka bans word 'Olympics' to ease nerves

Czech alpine skier says 2022 Beijing Games will now be dubbed ‘the little Chinese friendly’

AFP March 27, 2021


Two-time Olympic champion Ester Ledecka said Friday she would ban her team, family, journalists and everyone around her from saying the word "Olympics" in her presence under a hefty fine.

The 2022 Games in Beijing will from now on be dubbed "the little Chinese friendly" to ease the pressure, following good experience from the 2018 Winter Olympics, Ledecka told reporters in Prague.

Ledecka stunned the Alpine skiing world in Pyeongchang by winning the Super-G before earning another gold as the odds-on favourite in the snowboarding parallel giant slalom a week later.

"We used to call it 'the little Korean friendly'. It was never 'the Olympic Games' for us," said Ledecka, who turned 26 this week.

"We paid 10 euros ($12) to a little cashbox every time someone from the team said 'Olympics' and we made a lot of money.

"I would like to do it again because then you have lots of money for chocolate, ice cream and things like that," said Ledecka, who now gives priority to Alpine skiing over snowboarding.

Dubbed "an amphibian" for combining both sports, Ledecka took fourth spot in both downhill and Super-G at the Alpine skiing world championships this year and won her only parallel giant slalom in the 2020/2021 snowboarding season.

To get ready for icy slopes, Ledecka is planning to take up training on ice with National Hockey League legend and compatriot Jaromir Jagr who has recently sent her a pair of skates as a gift.

Jagr, a 49-year-old two-time Stanley Cup winner who is second only to Wayne Gretzky in all-time NHL points earned, still plays ice hockey for his own Rytiri Kladno team in the second Czech league.

"I started to get ready at once -- I played the NHL on PlayStation for a long time and I have gone inline skating three times so as not to embarrass myself," said Ledecka, whose grandfather played ice hockey for former Czechoslovakia in the 1960s and 1970s.

"I hope (Jagr) will let me play a real game. I guess when he sees me, he will know it would be a pity not to use me," Ledecka said.


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