U.S. Downhill Ski medal favorite Breezy Johnson announces withdrawal from Beijing Olympics

PARK CITY, Utah — Jackson Hole native and downhill ski medal favorite Breezy Johnson announced her withdrawal from the 2022 Beijing Olympics due to a knee injury sustained last week during training in Cortina, Italy.

Johnson, a member of the 2018 U.S. Olympic team, announced her withdrawal via Instagram. She mentioned that despite being able to compete, she ultimately had to withdraw due to the potential risk and further damage she could sustain.

“Sorry, guys. I just can’t. I have to announce that I have unfortunately injured my knee and must withdraw from the Olympics,” Johnson said. “It was the pleasure of my life to represent @teamusa at the Games in 2018. And all I have wanted ever since was to come back, stronger, faster, to win a gold medal. But I crashed in Cortina the other day and immediately felt a massive crack in my knee. It was a large chunk of cartilage that is partially dislodged. 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.”

Following an initial training crash on Jan. 8, which left Johnson with a swollen right knee, Johnson resumed training last week, where she experienced an awkward landing off of a jump and was thrown into the side netting.

“I felt a crunch in my knee and thought I had shattered my meniscus into 400,000 pieces,” Johnson said in an interview.

Upon further examination, it was discovered that a major piece of cartilage had peeled from Johnson’s bone and requires surgery, which Johnson will receive after returning to the United States.

This comes as a significant blow to the U.S. roster as Johnson was ranked the second-best female skier in recent years and with the Beijing games just days away. However, despite the setback, Johnson expressed that she is fully committed to returning and has her eyes set on competing in the 2026 Olympic Games. 

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