Johnson Second in First Lake Louise Downhill
In her first race back in Lake Louise since 2017, Breezy Johnson earned her first downhill podium of the Olympic season behind Italy's Sofia Goggia. Goggia executed a flawless run, posting a winning time 1.47 seconds faster than Johnson. Austria's Mirjam Puchner finished just behind Johnson in third, 1.54 off the pace.
"You know I hope she's not unbeatable, but I'll have to analyze it a little bit because it was an incredible run honestly," Johnson chuckled in response to questions about Goggia's inimitable run. "She's showing what women's ski racing can be, and you know I think the men should maybe start watching her a little bit too."
Despite missing two days of training in Lake Louise due to weather, the women were able to get their first speed race of the season off under bluebird skies in Lake Louise thanks to the hard work of the course crew. Lack of training on the track did not deter Johnson's confidence. She still chose to run early and attack the first women's downhill of the season with the same tenacity and aggression as she has in the past.
"It's been a process, getting better and better, so I feel really good. I felt like today was a really solid run," expanded Johnson. "You can only ski one hundred percent, so I'm going to try and ski one hundred percent of my best and not worry so much about Sofia and going beyond my limits because that's when I make mistakes."
Friday also saw a handful of top 30 results from the American women. Jackie Wiles finished 23rd, Mikaela Shiffrin finished 26th, and Isabella Wright finished 27th overall.
Shiffrin, who won the downhill in Lake Louise in 2017, has come into the 2021/22 season with a focus on the overall title but hasn't had much opportunity to work speed training into her pre-season schedule. Nonetheless, she made the commute to Lake Louise with realistic expectations, knowing that there is no better training than feeling the very real pressures of race day, no matter where she lands in the ranks.
"Right now, I have a pretty lofty goal of shooting to race in every event at the Olympics, but I can't just go into it and do it," said Shiffrin. "I'm trying to take these races as not only practice but training. The last run of downhill I had was in September and before that it was in May, so it's trying to get as much as I can, as quickly as I can, and racing is really the perfect situation to practice finding your balance mentally and physically, and the right intensity for race mode."
Up-and-comer Alix Wilkinson finished just outside the top 30 in 33rd, Keely Cashman finished 46th, and Lauren Macuga skied into the finish with a smile and waved to the crowd, having finished her first-ever World Cup downhill in 48th.
Competition in Lake Louise continues on Saturday with yet another downhill, and again on Sunday with the women's super-G season opener.
Saturday, Dec. 4
1:00 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Xfinity Birds of Prey Men's Downhill - LIVE Beaver Creek, CO, Streaming Peacock
1:00 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Xfinity Birds of Prey Men's Downhill - LIVE Beaver Creek, CO, Broadcast NBCSN
2:30 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women’s Downhill - LIVE, Lake Louise, CAN, Ski and Snowboard Live, Streaming Peacock
5:00 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Xfinity Birds of Prey Men's Downhill - Same-day broadcast, Beaver Creek, CO, Broadcast NBC
Sunday, Dec. 5
12:30 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women's Super-G - LIVE Lake Louise, CAN, Streaming Peacock
2:00 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Xfinity Birds of Prey Men's Downhill - LIVE, Beaver Creek, CO, Streaming Peacock
2:30 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women’s Super G - LIVE, Lake Louise, CAN, Ski and Snowboard Live
2:30 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Xfinity Birds of Prey Men's Downhill - Same-day broadcast, Beaver Creek, CO, Broadcast, NBCSN
4:00 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Xfinity Birds of Prey Men's Downhill - Same-day broadcast, Beaver Creek, CO, Broadcast NBC
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