Breezy Johnson has been ruled out of Beijing 2022 with a knee injury ©Getty Images

Breezy Johnson, the third ranked women’s downhill World Cup skier, has been ruled out of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics due to a knee injury.

Johnson sustained the injury in training for the downhill World Cup competition in Cortina last Friday (January 21).

The 26-year-old wrote on Instagram that she had felt a "massive crack in my knee", which was found to have been a "large chunk of cartilage that is partially dislodged."

Johnson said she had been given the option to try to compete at Beijing 2022 despite the injury, but said she did not believe it was "realistic of smart."

"I love the sport of ski racing and I wanted so badly to realise my dream of becoming an Olympic champion," Johnson said.

"To bask in the glow of that sunset.

"But the reality is that the risks, and there are always risks, are no longer worth it.

"This sport is brutal.

"Luckily I've been a big fan of ski racing since I was a little kid.

"So while I always wanted to win an Olympic gold medal I have a lot of other goals in ski racing.

"Goals that I can work on for the next four years.

"Before I return, hopefully, to the hill that stole this Olympic dream from me, for another shot at that gold medal.

"2026 baby."

Johnson finished fourth in the downhill World Cup standings last season and has impressed throughout the current campaign.

She secured back-to-back second place finishes at Lake Louise in Canada last month, before ending as the runner-up at Val d’Isere in France on December 18.

The results saw Johnson lie third in the downhill World Cup standings on 240 points, behind Italy’s Sofia Goggia and Austria’s Ramona Sienbenhofer, who have 400 and 264 respectively.

Doubts also surrounded Goggia’s participation at Beijing 2022, after a crash during the Super-G race in Cortina.

The Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic downhill champion sustained a sprained left knee, a partial cruciate ligament tear, a small fracture of the fibula and tendon damage.

Goggia is now expected to miss the Olympic giant slalom and super-G events, with the Italian set to focus on recovering for the downhill competition.

She was ruled out of a home World Championships in Cortina last year due to injury.

The Italian Winter Sports Federation has confirmed Goggia will no longer serve as Italy’s flagbearer at the Beijing 2022 Opening Ceremony.

She will be replaced by reigning snowboard cross Olympic champion Michela Moioli, who was initially due to carry the flag at the Closing Ceremony.

Sofia Goggia faces a race to be fit for the women's Olympic downhill event ©Getty Images
Sofia Goggia faces a race to be fit for the women's Olympic downhill event ©Getty Images

"I am very happy that Michela has been nominated," Goggia said.

"I remember a sentence from her about the desire to carry the flag that she confided in me in 2018.

"We spoke to each other in these hours, she told me that she will bring it with the same pride, I'm happy she is doing it, also considering the friendship that binds us."

Moioli added: "I am sorry for what happened to Sofia.

"It is as if this baton was being passed on to me.

"Thinking about you too, I will play this role with great honour, also thanking Italian National Olympic Committee for the trust."