Swiss Corinne Suter, who last year emerged as the world’s top speed skier, won her first world title in the downhill in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, on Saturday.
Suter, the silver medalist at the last worlds in 2019, prevailed by two tenths of a second over surprise German silver medalist Kira Weidle. Lara Gut-Behrami, who led a Swiss one-two with Suter in Thursday’s super-G, took bronze, .37 behind.
“I always knew in downhill there were more chances [to win than super-G],” Suter said. “I started with a silver medal in super-G, and this was already amazing for me. And then today was a new day,”
American Breezy Johnson, who finished third in four of five World Cup downhills this season, placed ninth on Saturday after a bobble in an early, bumpy turn section led to her losing several tenths at the next split. Johnson ended up .53 out of a medal and nine tenths shy of Suter.
Johnson said she got distracted after her goggles fogged at the start, affecting her vision for the first two gates.
“I lost sight of what I needed to do there,” said Johnson, who came back from significant leg injuries in 2017, 2018 and 2019 to succeed the retired Lindsey Vonn as the top U.S. downhiller. “I hit the bump and went on my head and lost a bit of time. I thought I was going to go out but managed to hold it together.”
The women’s downhill reairs Saturday on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET and NBCSN at 4:30.
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O M G‼️@_BreezyJohnson…how on earth did you ski out of this and still ski THAT fast?! 🤯 #cortina2021 pic.twitter.com/FPZOqM9U9X
— U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team (@usskiteam) February 13, 2021
Suter, with her fourth career world championships medal, became the first Swiss woman in 32 years to win a downhill world title.
She was sixth in the 2018 Olympic downhill, made her first World Cup podium in 2019 and earned her first wins in 2020, when she was ranked No. 1 in the world in the downhill and super-G.
This season, Suter took a backseat to Italian Olympic downhill champion Sofia Goggia, who was ruled out of worlds after suffering a broken bone in her knee two weeks ago.
“Definitely, today is the best day of my career,” Suter said.
Weidle, 24, has a best career World Cup finish of third, but no podiums this season.
Gut-Behrami, who won downhill silver at the 2009 Worlds at age 17, continued a resurgence over the last year. The Swiss was the world’s best overall skier in 2016, then tore her left knee at the 2017 Worlds.
“Everything feels pretty easier, if I compare my skiing from the last years,” she said.
Worlds continue Sunday with the men’s downhill at 4:55 a.m. ET on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and Peacock Premium.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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