Ledecká becomes first woman to win Winter Olympics gold in two unrelated events with snowboard success on closing weekend in Pyeongchang; Czech Olympic Committee chief pleased with seven medals; VAR used in Czech top flight for first time; and Berdych misses out on final again in Marseille.
The Czech Republic’s Ester Ledecká has become a true world star in the last week and a half. Her gold medal in super-G in Pyeongchang on February 17 will go down as one of the greatest shocks ever seen in Alpine skiing, or indeed any sport. And her resounding win in the snowboard parallel giant slalom on Saturday made Ledecká the only woman in history to win gold at a Winter Olympics in two unrelated events. Not bad considering her initial aim was to be the first person to compete in both skiing and snowboard at an Olympics. The Guardian called the modest 22-year-old “the star of the Games”, a verdict very few would question.
Ledecká’s second gold was the last medal achieved by the Czech team, who came 14th in the overall table. Prior to Pyeongchang Czech Olympic officials had suggested four would be a decent tally so the final score of seven can only be judged a success, even it if it was one fewer than in Sochi four years ago. The other medal winners were Michal Krčmář with silver in biathlon sprint; speed skater Martina Sáblíková with silver in the 5000m; Karolína Erbanová with bronze in the speed skating 50; Eva Samková with bronze in snowboard cross; and Veronika Vítková with bronze in biathlon sprint. Czech Olympic chief Jiří Kejval told reporters that the only real disappointment was fourth place for Sáblíková in the speed skating 3000m but added that he couldn’t be more satisfied with the overall outcome in South Korea.
The first ever decision based on video assisted referee technology in Czech soccer’s top flight was made at the weekend. VAR was employed to rule out an offside goal for Slavia in their game against Bohemians 1905 on Sunday. The Prague local derby was not decided by the ruling as Slavia won 1:0 but as elsewhere the use of VAR has sparked a great deal of debate in the domestic soccer community. Slavia are now second in the table after leapfrogging Olomouc, who were beaten 1:0 by Brno. Fifth-placed Sparta slipped up yet again, only managing a 1:1 draw with Slovácko.
Tomáš Berdych’s wait to take part in an ATP final goes on. The Czech was beaten 3-6 2-6 by Karen Khachanov of Russia in the semi-finals in Marseille on Saturday, meaning he has not played in a final for nine months. Berdych remains at 17 in the world rankings. By contrast Petra Kvitová has climbed one place to ninth on the women’s tour.