UPDATE 1/25: Johnson will not compete in Beijing after a January training run crash resulted in a cartilage tear in her right knee.
With Lindsey Vonn out of the picture, Breanna Noble “Breezy” Johnson has taken center stage as Team USA’s best in the Alpine skiing speed events. The Wyoming native will be 26 when the 2022 Games begin in February, and she’ll be coming off one the best stretches of her career. Johnson, who is finally healthy after multiple seasons dealing with injury, made the podium in all three World Cup downhill races to close 2021. She enters the New Year as a medal candidate in both downhill and super-G.
As part of our preparation for the 2022 Winter Games, NBC Olympics sent questionnaires to multiple athletes to learn more about their lives both inside and outside of sports. Here’s what we found out about Johnson:
Tell us about your family.
My mom’s name is Heather. She was born in Washington, D.C. She came west to live in a small town in the mountains, where she met and married my dad. She did not learn to ski until she was in her 20’s but loved it enough to move to a ski town. She is still married to my father but never took his name. My dad's name is Greg. He was born in New Hampshire and ski raced as a kid. He later became my first coach at a small hill named Kelly Canyon. Both of my parents still volunteer many weekends at ski races.
Where does your family come from?
My family tree can be traced back to the first child born off of the Mayflower. His name was Peregrine White. But I have a lot of East Coast New England relatives. Both my mom and my dad's side go back to the Mayflower.
Where did you go to college?
I have attended Western Washington University but have been on a break since my injuries. I am an English major and have not yet graduated.
Do you have any pets?
I have a dog named Shadow. She is a Pureness/ Border Collie mix. She is my favorite cardio training partner and loves to run, hike or bike with me. She also always greets me at the airport when I come home and recognizes me immediately and runs and jumps in my arms, I think it's pretty cute. I also have two cats. One is named Nugget. He's pretty funny and I sometimes use him as a weight when I do core. Nugget's breed is orange long haired cat, if that is an actual breed. Piccolo or Pico is a short haired tortoiseshell cat. She does not generally put up with me using her for workouts in any way. All are rescues.
What is your hometown and how has it shaped you?
Well of course growing up skiing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, deeply influenced me a racer. We used to take the bus from school to the town hill to ski three days of the week. Then we skied at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort on the weekends, ripping around like Tasmanian devils. The support of the mountain resort to not limit our ability to ski crazy things and not to police our speed more than was necessary was deeply influential in my skiing. I still attribute many of my skills as a speed skier to the many facets of Jackson Resort and being free to ski them with my friends on Saturdays.
Jackson is also an incredible outdoor place. We have two major National Parks and tons of National Forest and Wilderness. I grew up hiking and exploring this outdoor space and that has carried into my love for adventure and the outdoors as an adult. Exploring new places is something I deeply love about my job. And I think my sense of adventure was created by this amazing place.
What’s your favorite workout?
I always love a fun cardio workout where I adventure to a fun place. Like a run last summer where we jogged 20 miles to a hot spring. But we also do really hard strength endurance workouts in the fall. They aren't fun but they do make you feel very accomplished afterwards.
What is your earliest memory of the Olympics?
I remember watching the Olympics in Salt Lake City on TV and wanting to go and watch it. I remember working out in my brain that I should work on making the Vancouver Games (somehow the math worked better in my brain back then). I also remember watching Lindsey [Vonn] and Julia [Mancuso] go 1-2 in Vancouver and thinking how amazing that would be to represent your team and to be able to do that with your friends.
Who do you socialize most with in your sport?
My best friend is Avital (Shimko) Carroll. She is on the U.S. moguls team and is trying to make the Olympic team in moguls. We met while we were rehabbing and finally both made it back to competition.
I am also good friends with Mikaela Shiffrin. She and I get along well both because we have similar outlooks and work ethic. We also have known each other since we were 12 and the Shiffrin family played a major role in developing me athletically and helping me hone in on how to go forwarding the sport.