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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Breezing her way through the Olympics

By Hillary O’Connor

 

Western’s very own Breezy Johnson competed at her first Olympic games this winter in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The 22-year-old sophomore and Jackson Hole, Wyoming native skied in both the women’s super-G and the downhill.

Johnson was originally only meant to ski the downhill but was called upon last minute to ski the super-G in place of her American teammate, Mikaela Shiffrin, opted to forgo the event to focus on the combined Alpine.

Johnson managed to place 14th in the women’s super-G after only having 24 hours’ notice.

When asked how she felt about the opportunity to ski in the super-G, Johnson told the Jackson Hole News and Guide she wasn’t expecting a medal, but wanted a great result

Johnson then competed in her second race of the Olympics in the women’s downhill and earned a seventh place finish.

Johnson reached speeds north of 65 mph to complete the downhill course in 1:40.34. She finished just shy of Italy’s Sofia Goggia, who completed the course in 1:39.22 seconds to win gold.

Breezy Johnson of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team in a super-G training course on September 9, 2016, in Portillo, Chile. // Photo courtesy of Christine Melby

During Johnson’s downhill run, NBC Olympics announcer Bode Miller, a former gold medalist for the U.S. men’s alpine ski team, said this was more of an experience-building run for Johnson, but she has the potential to do something great.

Being one of the youngest members of team U.S.A. women’s skiing, Johnson has a lot to look forward to.

Miller said Johnson is one of the most gifted, young alpine skiers in the last 15 years.

“I’m hoping that things are building,” Johnson said to the Jackson Hole News and Guide. “I know I’ve been skiing well all year. It’s more of a validation than anything else.”

Breezy Johnson. // Photo courtesy of Christine Melby

Johnson keeps improving as she moved from fifteenth place at the 2017 world championships to seventh at the 2018 Olympics in the downhill.

She has also improved her super-G ranking from 28th at the 2017 world championships to 14th at the 2018 Olympic games.

As the youngest member on the U.S. Alpine Ski Team, Johnson is in a good spot going into the 2022 games.

Many of her current teammates will be in their 30s and likely too old to compete at a high level.

After her downhill run, Johnson said on her Instagram page that she has no regrets about her Olympic performance.

“Walking out of my first Olympics, super proud of how I skied here,” Johnson said. “I put my heart on the line and in both Olympic races skied the run I wanted to ski. I can’t do better than my best.”

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