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Another Podium for Breezy Johnson and a First-Time Appearance for Mikaela Shiffrin in Val d’Isere

It's onward and upward for the two Americans leading the way for Team USA in the women's speed events.

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Breezy Johnson and Mikaela Shiffrin both had banner days in the French Alps over the weekend, with Johnson capturing her seventh World Cup downhill podium on Saturday and Shiffrin stepping back into the super-G Top 5 on Sunday. Italian skier Sofia Goggia dominated yet another speed series, taking both wins and catapulting herself into first place in the overall World Cup hunt. Here’s everything you need to know about the women’s World Cup stop in Val d’Isere, France.

Val d’Isere Women’s Downhill, Dec. 18

The sun shone on the O.K. Course in Val d’Isere, France, named after French Olympic champion skiers Henri Oreiller and Jean-Claude Killy, and the course skied fast—a perfect scenario for Jackson Hole-native Breezy Johnson. She threw down a clean run to secure a second place finish, exactly one year to the day after her first FIS World Cup podium at the same venue.

Johnson finished third on the hill last season and said she elevated her expectations for the 2021 race. “Every year I do a deal with the devil and he says you have to pick a number,” she told the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team. “Last year I picked three because that seemed more attainable and this year I picked two!”

Watch: Breezy Johnson takes second in Val d’Isere downhill

Sofia Goggia took the victory with a gutsy run down the track to win by .27 seconds over Johnson. Mirjam Puchner of Austria finished third, .91 seconds out of first.

Finishing behind Goggia is a position Johnson knows well, having finished second to Goggia’s victories three times so far this season. And out of Johnson’s seven podiums in her career, she has finished behind Goggia in each race. But those seven podiums are nothing to shake a fist at—the 25-year-old skier scored all seven podiums in the last 365 days and is a heavy medal favorite for the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.

Goggia’s win propelled her ahead of Mikaela Shiffrin, who sat out the downhill event in Val d’Isere, in the overall World Cup standings by 10 points.

American Jackie Wiles had a solid race one year after breaking her clavicle at the same venue, scoring points in 26th place. Keely Cashman skied out of the course and did not finish.

See full downhill results from Val d’Isere here.

Val d’Isere Women’s Super-G, Dec. 19

The weather stayed sunny on Sunday for a super-G in Val d’Isere, and two-time Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin, who decided last minute to add the event to her race schedule, ended up  leading for the Americans in fifth place.

Goggia took yet another win—her second of the weekend—attacking the course with no fear and straightening out her line toward the bottom of the course to find an extra few tenths. It was her fifth win in 17 days and her 16th career win—one short of the Italian record held by her teammate Federica Brignone and drawing comparisons to Lindsey Vonn’s dominance in the speed disciplines. “This was the best super-G of my career,” she said. “I stayed calm, was fluid from top to bottom and never slowed down.”

Watch: Sofia Goggia vs. Mikaela Shiffrin in Val d’Isere super-G

Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway was second, .33 seconds behind Goggia, breaking up what could have been an Italian sweep with Goggia’s teammates Elena Curtoni in third, .51 seconds back, and Brignone in fourth, just .01 off the podium.

Though she was planning on training for upcoming giant slalom races after podiuming in both St. Moritz super-Gs last weekend, Shiffrin made a last-minute decision to travel to Val d’Isere to get another super-G under her belt at a new venue. The decision paid off. Her fifth-place result scored her points toward the overall World Cup title and will continue to lower her bib number as she heads to the Olympics in February—which, like Val d’Isere, will be at a new venue for Shiffrin.

“I enjoyed the experience coming to a new place—having to study the course and learn the hill,” said Shiffrin. “Super-G is difficult to execute a plan in the one run, but I felt like that was all really good today. We’ll go back and look at the video and see where I can gain time, but I felt really good on my skis—good skiing.”

Shiffrin has been in the Top 10 in every super-G she has entered in the 2021-22 season.

Downhill specialist Breezy Johnson also had a strong day, snagging a career best result in super-G with ninth place. She has been steadily improving in the discipline, taking 12th and 24th in the St. Moritz super-Gs, and the finish one-upped her previous best result of 10th in Val di Fassa, Italy last February.

Rounding out the results for the U.S. Alpine Ski Team were Tricia Mangan in 40th, Jackie Wiles in 43rd, and Keely Cashman in 44th.

Goggia’s win leaves her with 65 points over Shiffrin in the overall World Cup hunt. The speed specialists now get a break while the tech women head to Courchevel, France for two giant slaloms on Dec. 21-22.

World Champion Lara Gut-Behrami—the only skier other than Goggia or Brignone to win a World Cup super-G in the 2021-22 season so far—was noticeably missing from the Val d’Isere weekend. She tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the race and will also sit out the Courcheval GS races.

See full super-G results from Val d’Isere here.