Wiles, Wilkinson Finish Top 25 In Garmisch Downhill
Saturday, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Jackie Wiles made a symbolic return to the venue that once shook her Olympic dreams, finishing 21st in the downhill and matching her best result at the venue.
Four years ago, Wiles found herself in a similar position at the start of the Kandahar, with drastically different results. She crashed hard in the final downhill competition before the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, suffering fractures to her tibia and fibula, as well as cruciate ligament tears. Her crash was devastating to the then 25-year-old, who had been riding a season of career highs following a podium in Cortina and a top-five in Lake Louise.
Wiles spent years fighting to recover from her injuries, just to make it back on snow. At one point in her recovery, she wasn’t sure she would ever be able to ski again. Posting a point-scoring finish in Garmisch on the brink of the Winter Olympic Games Beijing 2022 shows just how far the now 29-year-old has come.
“Today meant a lot to me,” commented Wiles. “Coming back, racing the Garmisch downhill four years later after my crash pre-Olympics, feels like I can finally put it behind me. I was happy with my skiing today and had some fast sections. It wasn’t the result I had entirely hoped for, but excited to take confidence and momentum into Beijing.”
Wiles' teammate Alix Wilkinson also posted a point-scoring finish, in 24th. In the absence of Breezy Johnson, who had to withdraw from the upcoming Winter Olympic Games due to a persistent knee injury, 21-year-old Wilkinson will punch her ticket to the Games for the first time. Wilkinson carries the momentum of a top 25 in Garmisch and a top 20 finish in Cortina in the Games, two of her best results she has seen in the World Cup downhill thus far.
In the notable absence of both Johnson and current downhill leader Sofia Goggia of Italy, due to injury, Saturday saw Switzerland’s Corrine Suter and Jasmine Flury take the top two spots on the podium, followed by Austria’s Cornelia Huetter in third. American Keely Cashman finished outside the points by seven hundredths in 31st. Tricia Mangan finished 36th.
Following Sunday’s super G in Garmisch, the women’s speed circuit will join their fellow competitors in Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games before returning to the World Cup circuit in March.
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