Breezy breezes to third again … and news and notes
This paper should probably cover moguls more
Seriously, what are the odds?
American up-and-comer Breezy Johnson took third in Friday’s World Cup in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.
Four races during a span of more than a month, in three different countries in a sport that is measured in hundredths-of-seconds, and the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, native takes third four times in a row, dating back to Dec. 18 in Val d’Isere, France..
Just for kicks and giggles, let’s look at Lindsey Vonn’s and Mikaela Shiffrin’s career. Neither finished in any position four times in a row, except for first place.
Vonn won four races in a row from Dec. 4-12, 2015 — that was a good week — with three races in Lake Louise, Alberta, (big shock) and a victory in Are, Sweden.
The only other time she finished in the same place in four races in a row was 2011 — the hat-trick thumping of Lake Louise and then a Val d’Isere super-G that was moved to Beaver Creek on Dec. 7 of that year. Vonn won on home snow and the Daily ran the headline, “No place like home.”
While Vonn is the more appropriate comparison for Johnson because they race speed, Shiffrin seems to be the master of the streak. Three times in her career, she’s won five races in a row — Jan 15-Feb. 19, 2019 (not including worlds), Dec. 12-Dec. 22, 2018, and Jan 1-9, 2018.
In retrospect, having two five-race winning streaks in one season explains a lot of how she rang up a record 17 World Cup wins that season. For the trivia junkies, Shiffrin also finished first four times in a row from Dec.1-29, 2016.
So, if you’re Breezy Johnson, you’re doing something that Vonn and Shiffrin have done — finish in the same place four straight times in a race — and anytime you’re in the same sentence with those two you’re in good shape.
Yes, you’re frustrated that you haven’t taken the final two steps on the podium, but there is something to be said for consistency, even if taken to statistically improbable heights. Even looking at this through red, white and blue glasses, Johnson’s podium run of late makes her a legitimate contender in any downhill race be it the World Cup, the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships in Cortina, Italy, in February and the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.
News and notes from the white circus
You know it’s a strange year when the Wengen downhill is contested in Kitzbuehel, Austria. The marquee Swiss race was moved because … you guessed it, COVID-19.
In Friday’s Wengen DH in Kitzbuehel — I just typed that? — Travis Ganong was the top American in 11th. Jared Goldberg with 19th and Bryce Bennett 24th. Ryan Cochran-Siegle was a DNF and injured.
That’s disappointing given how RCS has been racing recently — two top 10s in downhill and a super-G victory. But as Scarlett O’Hara said in “Gone with the Wind,” “Tomorrow is another day,” for the U.S. Ski Team.
And by the time you read this in print, tomorrow is today and Kitzbuehel is hosting the Kitzbuehel downhill, as opposed to Wengen hosting the Hahnenkamm.
Could we have some bumps?
The Vail Daily hasn’t reported anything on the world of moguls since Dec. 16-17, when Tess Johnson and Kai Owens returned from Scandinavia. Surprisingly, this is not the result of your sports editor blowing off his job and watching too much football on TV. (OK, he is still doing the latter.)
There have been no competitions since stops in Ruka, Finland, and Idre Fjall, Sweden, in early December. Everything’s been canceled/postponed. In theory/cross your fingers, the tour resumes with Deer Valley, Utah for singles on Feb. 4 and the dual format on Feb. 5.
There is also the question of the FIS Snowboard and Freestyle Skiing World Championships. Originally scheduled for China, that edition was canceled (COVID-19). Calgary, Alberta, tried to step in to host but couldn’t meet health requirements with the pandemic.
So, we’re still looking for a place. Cookshack, anyone?