American skier Breezy Johnson, one of the top medal contenders in the women’s downhill, will miss the Beijing Olympics after injuring her knee in a training crash.
Johnson wrote on Instagram that she damaged cartilage in her right knee following a crash in Cortina d’Ampezzo, when she ”immediately felt a massive crack in my knee.”
”It was a large chunk of cartilage that is partially dislodged,” Johnson wrote.
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I was given the option to try to compete on it. But I don't think that that is realistic or smart. I could do more damage and I certainly don't think I will be skiing my best.
Johnson had been in great form this season, finishing second in three World Cup downhill races in December to establish herself as one of the favourites in Beijing.
Her withdrawal comes two days after Sofia Goggia, the defending Olympic downhill champion and winner of four World Cup races this season, also injured her knee in a crash during a super-G race in Cortina. It’s still unclear whether Goggia will be able to compete in Beijing.
Johnson said she is determined to come back stronger -- and already has her sights set on the 2026 Olympics.
"I love the sport of ski racing and I wanted so badly to realize my dream of becoming an Olympic Champion," she wrote. "This sport is brutal. Someone asked me yesterday why we do it. And at times like these you wonder.
"But the truth is that, for me, the feeling of racing is the feeling of being truly alive, and so I will keep coming back every time. Because that feeling of skiing fast is worth everything.
"Luckily I've been a big fan of ski racing since I was a little kid. So while I always wanted to win an Olympic gold medal I have a lot of other goals in ski racing. Goals that I can work on for the next four years. Before I return, hopefully, to the hill that stole this Olympic dream from me, for another shot at that gold medal. 2026 baby."
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