Goggia and Johnson kick off speed season with back-to-back podiums

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Italy’s Sofia Goggia won her second World Cup downhill in as many days at the Lake Louise World Cup on Saturday.

Goggia, the reigning Olympic downhill gold medalist, crossed the line in 1:48.42, finishing 0.84 seconds ahead of American Breezy Johnson. Swiss skier Corinne Suter was third. (Full results can be found here, while video of Goggia and Johnson’s runs is embedded above.)

Goggia and Johnson also went 1-2 in Friday’s downhill, though Goggia’s victory margin in that race was a massive 1.47 seconds, putting her into the history books with downhill legends Lindsey Vonn and Annemarie Moser-Proell.

“She’s showing what women’s ski racing can be,” Johnson told reporters after Goggia’s win on Friday. “I think the men should maybe start watching her a little bit too.”

OLYMPICTALK: Sofia Goggia matches Lindsey Vonn, Picabo Street with Lake Louise win

With the back-to-back victories, Goggia has now won the last six World Cup downhills that she has entered, a streak that began at the Val d’Isere World Cup in December 2020. She managed to clinch the 2021 World Cup downhill title despite missing the end of the season – including the 2021 World Championships in Italy – due to a fracture in her right knee.

It was not Goggia’s first time missing a major competition due to injury. Far from it.

Lake Louise previously saw perhaps the most impactful injury of the Italian skier’s career. At a World Cup downhill in December 2013, Goggia crashed and tore her ACL. With less than two months until the start of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the then-21-year-old was forced to withdraw from what would have been her first Olympic Games.

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But Goggia’s many injuries – as well as her chaotic speed and reckless style – have also helped her bond with Vonn, who owns the all-time World Cup record for most downhill victories (43).

Goggia and Vonn overlapped on the circuit for only a few years, though they managed to share the downhill podium at the 2018 PyeongChang Games – Goggia’s first Olympic appearance and Vonn’s last.

Vonn, who retired in 2019, remains one of Goggia’s biggest supporters.

With two months until the 2022 Beijing Winter Games, Goggia has established herself the clear favorite to win a second Olympic downhill gold – so long as she can stay healthy.

Johnson – who has dealt with her own fair share of injuries – is also a top podium threat for Beijing. The 25-year-old from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, has finished on the podium in six of her last nine World Cup downhill starts.

ALSO FROM ON HER TURF: Eileen Gu becomes first female freeskier to land double cork 1440 (video)

Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC

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Goggia and Johnson kick off speed season with back-to-back podiums originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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