Photo: Ledecká. GEPA pictures.
The multi-talented speed event skier will continue her racing career on Kästle skis
PyeongChang 2018 Olympic super-G gold medalist Ester Ledecká has officially announced that she is leaving Atomic after more than a decade of racing for the Austrian ski brand.
“After 11 years of partnership, I’ve decided to change the ski team. I closed another chapter of my life and it was not easy at all,” Ledecká posted on her Instagram on Thursday.
Ledecka appreciates Atomic’s support
The Czech ski racer and snowboarder reminisced about her early days with Atomic.
“I will never forget the first time I was invited to the factory in Altenmarkt im Pongau, and with my mouth open, I looked at the photos of skiers that hung on the walls everywhere,” Ledecká wrote.
“Even back then, I already dreamed that among all the ski legends, who conquered the world, one day my picture with the Atomic skis above my head would be framed there as well.”
Ledecká is headed to the Austrian-Czech brand Kästle, where she will work with renowned serviceman Guntram “Tschunti” Mathis, who has previously tuned skis for overall World Cup champions Alexis Pinturault and Olympic champion Bode Miller.
The 27-year-old multi-sport athlete from Prague is making what seems to be a logical transition to Kästle. This once-famous Austrian brand is now owned by Czech billionaire and enthusiastic skier Tomáš Němec.
Ledecká, whose early success came with snowboarding, also commended Christian Höflehner, Atomic’s global race manager, for helping her pursue ski racing.
“Christian Hoeflehner noticed what I was doing when I was 16 years old and supported my skiing, even though he knew that half of my heart would always beat for snowboarding. He believed that I could ski also. 🙂 Christian, thank you!” Ledecká wrote.
“I was always determined to do my best not to disappoint Atomic and worked on myself and my skiing self 🙂 Thank you, Andy, Joe, Hans, and Philip, for looking after me and my material,” she wrote about her dedicated team at Atomic.
One week, two sports, two gold medals
Ledecká shocked the winter sports and Olympic world, famously winning gold in the women’s super-G at PyeongChang 2018 and then completing her unprecedented double with a snowboard parallel GS gold over the final weekend of the Games. Out of the 26th start position, she stole what seemed like a sure victory from Austrian Anna Fenninger, leaving the ski and sports world and even Ester herself in utter disbelief.
At the Beijing 2022 Games, Ledecká repeated her parallel GS victory from four years ago but came up a bit short in completing the “double-double,” finishing fifth in the super-G.
The Czech ski racer, who finished fourth in the World Cup DH standings last season, 245 points behind globe winner Sofia Goggia, has achieved eight World Cup speed event podiums, including three victories. Her ski racing success has been an excellent complement to her snowboard parallel dominance, for which she has racked up 31 World Cup podiums, 20 of which were victories.
“Thanks to all the great people I have had the good luck to meet and work with at Atomic… I am who I am, and I am where I am,” Ledecká concluded her comments on Instagram.
Ledecká continues her quest to become the first Czech skier, male or female, to win an alpine skiing World Cup globe.