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Sofia Goggia crashes in World Cup downhill, ends streak; American qualifies for Olympics

Reigning Olympic champ Sofia Goggia, entering perfect on the season in World Cup downhill competitions, crashed and did not finish in Zauchensee, Austria, as Lara Gut-Behrami claimed a narrow win.

Olympic downhill champion Sofia Goggia crashed and walked away on her own in a bid to win an eighth consecutive World Cup downhill start.

Goggia, who had the longest streak in 40 years, went down in a compression about two-thirds down the course in Zauchensee, Austria, on Saturday. The Italian spun around and slid hard into netting, her safety air bag inflating inside her suit.

Goggia immediately got up and soon walked on her own, too. She had the fastest times at the first two intermediate splits before the crash.

Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami won the race, edging German Kira Weidle by one tenth of a second. Austrian Ramona Siebenhofer was third.

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It was Gut-Behrami’s second win of the season but first since missing nearly four weeks of racing following a coronavirus infection.

“After (the October season opener in) Sölden, nothing went as planned,” Gut-Behrami said. “I was sick in America, then I crashed, then I had COVID. I have been skiing like five days in November and three days in December, which is nothing.”

Goggia won four downhills in a row last season before breaking a bone in her right knee in a Jan. 31 season-ending crash. She came back to win the first three downhills this season, passing Lindsey Vonn and Picabo Street for the longest women’s downhill win streak in the last 40 years.

Austrian legend Annemarie Moser-Pröll had streaks of eight and 11 in a row in the 1970s. For the men, Austrian legend Franz Klammer had two runs of nine wins in a row in the 1970s.

Americans Breezy Johnson, the world’s second-ranked downhiller and the only woman to finish within nine tenths of a second of Goggia this season, and Mikaela Shiffrin are sitting out this weekend’s races for different reasons.

Jacqueline Wiles finished 33rd and qualified to race in her second Olympics as the second-ranked U.S. female downhiller this season (No. 32 in the World Cup standings).

Wiles, 29, was 26th in the 2014 Olympic downhill, then missed the 2018 Olympics due to left leg injuries after crashing in a race a week before the Games. Wiles’ 2020-21 season was also cut short due to a knee injury last February.

Wiles joins the previously qualified Shiffrin, Johnson, Paula Moltzan and Nina O’Brien on the U.S. Olympic women’s Alpine team. The U.S. has nine Olympic women’s quota spots and could gain more. Keely Cashman is most likely to earn the last objective spot after Sunday’s super-G before the roster is rounded out by discretionary selections.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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