Mikaela Shiffrin and Breezy Johnson, the U.S.’ top two Alpine skiers, are for different reasons sitting out this weekend’s World Cup speed races three weeks before the Olympics.
Shiffrin, who has said she hopes to race all five individual events at the Olympics for the first time, chose not to race a downhill and super-G in Zauchensee, Austria, to focus on training.
She also plans to skip next week’s downhill and super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, and return for a giant slalom in Kronplatz, Italy on Jan. 25 for her planned final race before going to Beijing.
If she sticks with that plan, Shiffrin will have gone nearly two months between super-G starts if she races the Olympic super-G (scheduled Feb. 11). And more than two months between downhill starts if she races the Olympic downhill (scheduled Feb. 15).
Shiffrin is the world championships bronze medalist in the super-G and has two third-place finishes in the discipline this season. All of those results came on limited speed training.
Johnson, ranked second in the world in downhill, hurt her knee in a recent training crash and said she will follow medical advice and wait until Cortina to race again.
“While I am feeling good overall, I cut the front of my knee and needed some stitches,” was posted on her social media. “I’ve also been dealing with some swelling because of that cut and the bruising. I feel great and ready to go. But my medical team feels that I will be safer if I wait until Cortina, and though it hurts my heart more than my knee to follow their advice I know that they know what’s best for me.”
The world’s top downhiller, Olympic champion Sofia Goggia of Italy, has won her last seven World Cup downhill starts dating to last season. Goggia missed two downhills during her run, plus last season’s world championships, after fracturing a bone in her right knee in a crash.
Only Austrian legend Annemarie Moser-Pröll had a longer streak with runs of eight and 11 wins in a row in the 1970s.
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