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American Breezy Johnson Misses Downhill Podium After Early Course Mistake

Johnson didn’t medal, but a herculean recovery after a critical mistake landed her in the top 10.

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After landing on the podium in four out of five women’s World Cup downhill races this season, Breezy Johnson had hoped to secure her first World Championship medal in the anticipated women’s downhill in Cortina. Instead, the American finished today’s race in ninth place after a significant error nearly took Johnson out of the race altogether.

It’s a testament to her strength and athleticism that Johnson managed to stay on her skis and not only finish the race, but ski one of the fastest lines down the lower section of the course.

Breezy Johnson hip checks during the World Championship Downhill
Breezy Johnson hip-checks and nearly crashes during the women’s downhill on February 13, 2021 in Cortina d’Ampezzo Italy. Photo: Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images

“I knew the wind was kicking a lot and I lost sight of being over the outside ski a little bit more than I should have,” Johnson told U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “I thought the rest of my run was really good and I really thought I executed my plan everywhere and skied as well as I could. Mistakes happen when you’re going for it!”

In the end it was Switzerland’s Corinne Suter, 2020 World Cup Downhill Champion, who claimed gold in today’s race. It’s the second medal of this World Championships for Suter, who also won the silver medal in the women’s super-G on Feb. 11.

“My run was really good. I did what I needed to do to give me the space and take the speed with me. So I’m super happy with my run today,” Suter said after the race.

Watch: Corinne Suter Wins Downhill Gold

Suter’s fellow countrywoman, Lara Gut-Behrami, looked to be in a good position to beat Suter as she came down the track with green lights at every split. But she lost some time between the final split and the finish line and ultimately settled into third, 0.37 seconds behind Suter.

Gut-Behrami now adds the downhill World Championship bronze to the super-G gold she won on Feb. 11.

Watch: Lara Gut-Behrami Wins Downhill Bronze

Related: Mikaela Shiffrin Wins Bronze in First Super-G in 382 Days

Germany’s Kira Weidle put down a surprise performance to finish just 0.20 seconds off Suter’s winning time to claim the silver medal. This marks Weilde’s first World Championship medal and only her third podium-finish.

Watch: Kira Weidle’s Second-Place Run

On the whole, Saturday’s downhill proved successful for the women of the U.S. Ski Team. In her first World Championship, Isabella Wright put down an impressive run to finish 21st. Teammates Jacqueline Wiles and Laurenne Ross weren’t far behind, finishing 24th and 26th, respectively.

See the full results of the women’s World Championship downhill.

Up next in Cortina is the men’s downhill on Sunday, Feb. 14, followed by the men’s and women’s alpine combined on Monday, Feb. 15.