Team USA’s Breezy Johnson to miss Olympics after crash

Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images

American downhill ski racer Breezy Johnson is out of the Beijing Olympics after tearing cartilage in her right knee in a training run crash.

The crash occurred during a training run on Friday, making Johnson the second downhill ski racer to suffer a devastating injury over the weekend. Italian Olympic champion Sofia Goggia suffered leg injuries in a super-G crash on Sunday that could also keep her out of the Olympics.

“I’ve always wanted to win the downhill globe [season title]. I’ve always wanted to win an Olympic medal,” Johnson told NBCSports on Monday. “So, to be in this position where I felt within striking distance for both until this happens, and now you never know if those things are going to happen again, makes it really hard. You just really feel how close you can come, and then it can all be taken away from you again.”

The loss of Johnson is a big hit for Team USA. Aside from Mikaela Shiffrin, Johnson has been the top U.S. Alpine skier in the last two seasons.

She had planned to race in her first World Cup event since Dec. 19. But prior to Saturday’s downhill event, flew off of a jump in a practice run and felt a crack in her knee upon landing. A later MRI revealed a cartilage impaction tear.

While Johnson could have tried to ski on it at the Olympics, doctors told her that delaying the surgery would impact her chances of competing next season.

“I could do more damage and I certainly don’t think I will be skiing my best,” she wrote in a post on Instagram. “I love the sport of ski racing and I wanted so badly to realize my dream of becoming an Olympic Champion. To bask in the glow of that sunset. But the reality is that the risks, and there are always risks, are no longer worth it.”