Johnson Returns from Injury to Lead Three into Top 30 in Downhill
Despite weather delays and a lowered start due to fog rolling in and out in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria, Breezy Johnson returned to FIS Ski World Cup action for the first time in 667 days to land in 25th place, leading three Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team athletes into the points.
Switzerland’s Corinne Suter set the pace for the day, with Italy’s Nicol Delago finishing second, .29 back and Swiss skier Michelle Gisin rounding out the podium in third, .98 off Corinne’s pace. With her victory, Corinne steals the red leader bib from Czech gold medalist skier and snowboarder Ester Ledecka.
Breezy was relieved to get back into the start gate and is looking forward to building on Saturday’s results through the next couple of months. “It was a tough day out there. The light was not-so-great for some—especially Merryweather when she came down,” Breezy reflected after her run.
Alice McKennis and Jackie Wiles—who both recently returned from significant injuries that had them sidelined for the entire 2018-19 season—were 26th and 27th, respectively, on Saturday. “I think we’re feeling good, and we’re training well—we just haven’t put all of the pieces together," continued Breezy. "I’m obviously very excited to lead the team and be back in the points and just to be back racing and doing what I love and what I’ve done my whole life. It’s a great start, and I think we’ll start to put it together over the next few weeks here.”
On March 14, 2018, in the World Cup Finals downhill in Åre, Sweden, teammates Lindsey Vonn and Alice McKennis went 1-3 with Breezy in eighth. During the 2017-18 season, the women’s speed team was the fastest downhill team in the world.
But the following season, the women were plagued with injury, with Lindsey, Alice McKennis, Jackie and Breezy out with injury at the start of the 2018-19 season. Later that season, Laurenne Ross sustained an injury at World Championships. The team has been building and working hard to return to snow, and now—apart from Laurenne—the team is back together on the mountain again. And they couldn’t be more excited.
“We are all part of each other’s successes and we have been there for each other," said Breezy. "I think Laurenne is going to come train with us next week, so we are all going to be back to being a crew together again, and that’s really exciting. We just need to keep building and everyone’s success will just keep feeding off of each other. We’ll just keep rolling.”
Alice Merryweather and Bella Wright both started in Saturday’s downhill but finished outside of the top 30. While Corinne Suter takes the lead in the downhill standings, Mikaela Shiffrin maintains a strong lead over Slovakian rival Petra Vlhova in the overall standings by 313 points (826-513). Italy's Federica Brignone sits in third in the overall standings (465), followed by Swiss multidiscipline threat Michelle Gisin in fourth (361).
Next up, the women have an alpine combined, which features one run of super-G and one run of slalom, on Sunday. Mikaela and Alice Merryweather are expected to start for the Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team.
HOW TO WATCH
All Times EST
Sunday, Jan. 12
3:15 a.m. - Women’s combined super-G, Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, AUT - NBC Sports Gold
4:00 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 1, Adelboden, SUI - Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
5:45 a.m. - Women’s combined slalom, Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, AUT - NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 2, Adelboden, SUI - Olympic Channel, Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
Note: All televised events to stream across NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app, OlympicChannel.com, and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA app.
Exclusive commercial-free coverage will be available for subscribers of the NBC Sports Gold Pass, available here: https://www.nbcsports.com/gold/snow.
Why isn’t Altenmarkt-Zauchensee available on NBCSN or Olympic Channel?
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