Don't ask Ester Ledecka if she is the best athlete at the Pyeongchang Olympics. She'll stare through her polarized goggles and recoil at what she considers a preposterous notion.

"Uh, what?" she responded Saturday afternoon.

No, seriously.

"I don't think so, no," she insisted. "There are the greatest athletes in the world here."

And the greatest athletes in the world now gush over Ledecka, the 22-year-old Czech who accomplished the unthinkable, winning gold medals in two different sporting disciplines, shattering notions about the impossibility of mixing elite skiing and snowboarding — or any other exotic combination of world-class athletic pursuits. She must be the greatest.

"Yeah, whatever," Ledecka said.

In the first week of the Games, Ledecka surprised everyone by winning the women's super-G on skis. On Saturday she won parallel giant slalom on a snowboard.

She is the first woman to win gold in two unrelated sports at the same Winter Olympics. She is only the sixth Olympian, period, to do such a thing, and most of the other multitasking medalists pulled it off back when electricity was considered a luxury.

She's an inspiration even to those who inspire.

"I think everybody was like, 'What are we doing wrong?' " U.S. skiing star Mikaela Shiffrin said. "I thought this sport was hard, but apparently not. … It's a really important point that everybody should see: There's not one path."

Justin Reiter, an American who competed for the United States four years ago, is Ledecka's snowboarding coach.

"I always doubted the ability to do both," he said. "But I think it was a big deal for us this year to stop the fighting of trying to pull her toward one direction and saying, 'Hey, let's just do what you want.' That was the No. 1 focus for the year: to create a champion and not a racehorse. Empower her so that she could make her decisions, her own choices, and support them."

Reiter remembers the day he gave up. He preached hard that day, then went home "feeling a little bit like I had thrown some water on a fire," he said. The next morning, he approached her again.

"Hey, Ester, forget everything that I said," Reiter told her. "If you want to ski and snowboard … let's go for it. You're different than anyone I've ever met in the world, so there's no reason why we can't."

She'd spent a lifetime hearing about what she couldn't do.

"There were so many of them who tell me this is not possible," Ledecka said. "And today, I proved it possible."

Home team wins

In the last speedskating event at the Gangneung Oval, Lee Seung-hoon delivered the Olympic host nation's first gold medal.

Lee won the inaugural men's mass start, highlighting a strong showing for the South Korean team.

"It's the first competition and at home," Lee said after crying on the medal stand. "It's been a longtime dream for me and unbelievable."

Kim Bo-reum added a silver for South Korea in the women's race. Kim was involved in a national scandal when she and another skater left their team pursuit teammate well behind in a qualifier earlier this week.

"I have nothing else to say other than I am so sorry," Kim said.

Hockey crowds small

Thinking the Olympic hockey arenas look empty? You're not alone.

International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel said he's disappointed with the crowds but acknowledged South Korea is not a hockey country. "I think the pricing was also relatively high for people," he said.

Tickets for medal games run $140 to $278.

The crowd of 2,092 that watched Sweden's quarterfinal against Germany was the lowest attendance at any Olympic men's game this century.


• Norway's third-place finish in the new Alpine skiing team event gave the country 38 medals, a record for a single Winter Olympics. That breaks the record set at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics by the Americans, who won 37 medals.

• Iivo Niskanen captured Finland's first gold medal of the Games, beating out Russian Alexander Bolshunov with a strong sprint to the finish in the cross-country 50-kilometer mass start.

• U.S. Alpine director Patrick Riml calls his men's team's Olympic performance "disappointing" and acknowledged "they definitely have to rebuild" before the Beijing Games in 2022. No U.S. man won a medal.

• South Korean police said they detained a Canadian ski cross competitor, his wife and a coach for allegedly taking a car from in front of a bar. All three were intoxicated, police said. A fine is likely. Countries and genders of those involved were released but not names. The only Canadian male ski cross competitor who fit the description was 35-year-old Dave Duncan, who finished eighth Wednesday.

• Andrew Ebbett, Chris Kelly and Derek Roy each scored in the first period, and Canada took the bronze medal in men's hockey by beating the Czech Republic 6-4. Canada has won nine gold medals in men's hockey.