Wiles Top 15 in Cortina Downhill; Wilkinson Scores First World Cup Points in 18th
On a windy and cold day in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Jackie Wiles led the U.S. Alpine Ski Team with her best result in four years, finishing 14th in the FIS World Cup downhill. 21-year-old Alix Wilkinson, in just her seventh career World Cup, scored her first points with an impressive 18th place.
After crashing hard in the Zauchensee downhill, Sofia Goggia of Italy didn’t miss a beat, taking her fourth downhill win of the season. Rebecca Siebenhofer of Austria was second and Ester Ledecka, the unpredictable Czech snowboarder who won the 2018 Olympic super-G, landed in third for her first podium in a year.
While Wiles has stepped on the World Cup podium twice in her career, including once in Cortina with 20-time Cortina winner and Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn in 2018, she suffered an injury right before the PyeongChang Olympics and has struggled to find her form on race day. But she put down an aggressive and clean run to make a triumphant return to the top 15.
“I’m super super psyched,” said Wiles. “It’s just a sigh of release finally to get back in the top 15. It’s been a battle now for a while. I know I’ve been able to ski well in training but somehow putting it to race day has been difficult. It feels incredible and is something that I can build off now with confidence going forward.”
Wiles will look to continue her trajectory as one of the 11 women representing the Team USA in alpine skiing at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
Young Wilkinson, who hails from Palisades Tahoe, burst into her first World Cup points with a clean run down the 2026 Olympic venue to finish 18th. She threw her hands up in the finish corral to celebrate and was giddy with excitement after the race. “I’m so happy!” she said. “This is the most amazing feeling. I feel like I’ve been close to points this season but to actually do it in Cortina? This feels unreal. I’m so happy.”
Wiles was thrilled to share her day with Wilkinson, who acts as Wilkinson's mentor on the World Cup circuit. "That was so cool to see and be a part of," said Wiles. "She is 21 and scored her first points. Eight years ago, I was 21 and scoring my first points too at this same venue."
Notably missing from the day was Breezy Johnson, who has finished second to Goggia twice in downhills during the 2021-22 season and was second in the downhill standings coming into Cortina, but took a big crash in Friday’s downhill training and sat out the race.
Keely Cashman finished just outside of the points in 33rd. Tricia Mangan was 46th.
Mikaela Shiffrin did not race in the Cortina downhill but maintained the overall lead in the World Cup standings. Goggia remains first in the downhill standings.
Next up, the women race super-G on Sunday to finish out the weekend in Cortina. Shiffrin announced on Saturday via Instagram that she plans to race in the super-G.
HOW TO WATCH
*All times EST.
Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022
5:45 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women's Super-G - LIVE, Cortina d'Ampezzo, ITA, Streaming Ski and Snowboard Live, Streaming Peacock
7:30 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men’s Downhill - LIVE, Kitzbuehel, AUT, Streaming Peacock and skiworldcup.live
2:00 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men’s Downhill - delayed broadcast, Kitzbuehel, AUT, Broadcast CNBC