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American ski star Breezy Johnson under investigation by US anti-doping agency



GENEVA — Downhill skier Breezy Johnson is under investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and says she will not race during the case, which could lead to a two-year ban.

“Out of respect for my fellow racers, I have decided not to compete until the matter is resolved,” Johnson said in a statement on social media Saturday after she did not start at a World Cup downhill in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

The 27-year-old Johnson has been one of the top U.S. downhillers in recent years, with seven podium finishes in World Cup races. She placed seventh in the 2018 Olympics at Pyeongchang, South Korea, where teammate Lindsey Vonn took bronze.

Johnson said the investigation relates to “whereabouts” rules — the obligation of all elite athletes to inform anti-doping authorities where they can be found for one hour each day to give a sample with no advance notice.

Breezy Johnson talks with media members during a press conference before the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships on February 5, 2023. Getty Images

Athletes have been banned for up to two years if they have three violations in a 12-month period, such as missed tests or failures to update accurate details of their location.

“I am, and always have been, a clean athlete,” said Johnson, who added that the USADA case is in its early stages.

She got immediate support from superstar teammate Mikaela Shiffrin, who won the downhill Saturday at St. Moritz.

“We support you, Breezy,” Shiffrin wrote in a reply to Johnson’s social media post.

Bans of 18 months have been routine for American athletes in whereabouts cases.

Breezy Johnson speeds down the course during an alpine ski, women's World Cup downhill training, in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, Jan. 21, 2022.
Breezy Johnson speeds down the course during an alpine ski, women’s World Cup downhill training, in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Jan. 21, 2022. AP

Tennis player Jenson Brooksby was banned for 18 months in October and, in 2021, sprinter Christian Coleman got a reduction of a two-year ban on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Coleman’s ban meant he missed the Tokyo Olympics held in 2021 when he was the 100-meter world champion. He had been allowed to race at the 2019 Worlds in Doha, Qatar, on a technicality after a previous investigation into his whereabouts compliance.

Johnson’s ski race career peaked in a one-year period through December 2021 when she had three runner-up finishes and four third-places in World Cup downhills.

She missed the 2022 Beijing Olympics due to a knee injury she picked up three weeks before the games opened.

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