CZECH REPUBLIC – Olympic superstar Ester Ledecká wins most prestigious national sports award
20 August 2019
Double Olympic gold medallist Ester Ledecká received Czech Republic’s most prestigious national sports award – the Jiri Stanislav Guth-Jarkovsky Award – on 19 August 2019.
Established in 1933, the Jiri Stanislav Guth-Jarkovsky Award, which takes its name from the founder of Olympism in Czech Republic, is the country’s longest-standing and most sought-after award. Since 2015, the winner has been shortlisted by athletes. This year’s jury consisted of members of the Czech Olympic teams who competed at Sochi 2014, Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018, the World Games in Wroclaw 2017 and European Games in Baku 2015.
Ledecká made history at PyeongChang 2018 by spectacularly winning gold medals in two different sports – super-G in alpine skiing and parallel slalom in snowboarding – becoming the first woman to have ever achieved such a feat.
“I really value this award. It is special because athletes themselves – each of whom have their own sport and life story – vote for the winner,” Ledecká said. “I feel a little bit weird to be among such legends who have received this award before me, but I am very happy and grateful for that.”
Czech Olympic Committee President Jiri Kejval said that Ester`s achievement is very exceptional and he is glad that athletes acknowledged it.
For its part, NOC Secretary General Petr Graclík said: “I will always remember where I was when Ester won her medals. It was a similar experience for me as when the Czech Ice Hockey team won the Olympic Games gold in Nagano.”
The award was announced by David Svoboda, Olympic gold medallist in modern pentathlon from London 2012, who said: “Ester reached a very rare goal. She became a part of sports history. All athletes are very proud that it is a Czech athlete who managed such a great achievement.”
The special award ceremony was attended by Ledecká’s family and more than 30 athletes, including double Olympic champion in canoe slalom, Štěpánka Hilgertová, Olympic champion in rowing Mirka Topinková Knapková (former winner of the award) and many other successful athletes and sports personalities.
Winners of the award in previous years have included rower Ondřej Synek (2015), judoka Lukáš Krpálek (2016) and climber Adam Ondra (2017).