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Breezy Johnson joins U.S. skiing greats with third podium this season

Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup - Women's Downhill

ST ANTON, AUSTRIA - JANUARY 9 : Breezy Johnson of USA celebrates during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Downhill on January 9, 2021 in ST ANTON Austria. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

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On Saturday, Breezy Johnson became the fourth U.S. female Alpine skier to make three World Cup podiums in one season in the last 15 years.

The others: Olympic champions Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso and Mikaela Shiffrin.

Johnson, a 24-year-old coming back from three significant leg injuries, finished third in a downhill in St. Anton, Austria.

Olympic champion Sofia Goggia of Italy won her second straight World Cup downhill, this time by a whopping .96 of a second over Austrian Tamara Tippler. Full results are here.

Johnson joined Goggia as the only women to make the podium in all three World Cup downhills so far this season. Johnson also finished third in Val d’Isere, France, on Dec. 18-19.

“This has been coming on for a while,” Johnson said on ORF. “I have a lot of confidence right now.”

Before this season, Johnson’s top accolade was placing seventh in the PyeongChang Olympic downhill as the youngest U.S. speed racer. That result came 11 months after suffering a tibial plateau fracture in a World Cup Finals crash.

Johnson tore her right ACL in a September 2018 training crash and missed the entire season. She then tore her left PCL and MCL in a June 2019 giant slalom training fall. She showed Vonn-like resilience in returning last season — on about five days of training — and grabbing a pair of fifth-place downhill finishes.

Now, she’s the world’s third-ranked downhiller behind Goggia and Swiss Corinne Suter. Johnson can take aim at her first top 10 in a super-G in St. Anton on Sunday (live stream information here).

“I’m still not quite there with super-G as much,” she said. “I think it’s the hardest event. One day I hope to be really good at super-G.”

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