After the Olympics, back to the books

After an impressive debut at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, WWU student Breezy Johnson returns to Western
Sascha Guenter-Schlesinger

Breezy Johnson from WWU Video on Vimeo.

After an impressive debut at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, WWU student Breezy Johnson returned to Bellingham in March to continue her pursuit of an English degree. 

Johnson, who placed seventh in the Olympic downhill race and 14th in the super G, is a World Cup ski racer and lover of Shakespeare who spends one quarter a year in Western’s Honors Program.

Life at the Olympics

In preparation for her Olympic premiere, the Wyoming native spent nearly a month in South Korea with the other women of the U.S Olympic Ski Team. 

They spent most of their time near the alpine venues, away from the Olympic Village. But after finishing her main events Johnson joined the rest of the team at the Olympic Village, one of the high-points of her trip, and found herself hanging out with the silver-medal German men’s hockey team.

“Racing was obviously my huge highlight, but the night we saw the closing ceremonies and went to the German hockey house was very fun,” Johnson says.

A talent for speed

Bode Miller, an Olympic gold medal skier and commentator during the NBC Olympics broadcast, said during Johnson’s downhill race that she has a great chance of moving into a leadership role on the team.  

“She’s one of the more gifted downhillers we’ve seen in the last 15 years,” Miller said. 

Johnson cut short her 2018 season after injuring her shoulder during training in Sweden, but was recently back on the slopes training at Mammoth Mountain to prepare for her next World Cup race in October.  

Back at Western

Johnson says life as a student is more hectic these days. 

“A lot of people think once you become an Olympian you have a manager and the whole gamut, but that’s not completely true,” Johnson says. “You need to make a lot of money to afford those people, and ski racing isn’t that lucrative unless you’re winning medals regularly. So I basically have to do it for myself.” 

Johnson says she likes the business side of the sport and hopes to make it her career after retiring from ski racing. She eventually wants to use her education by working as an agent for other athletes. 

“I want to graduate, then either go to business or law school and become a sports agent—but not only just in skiing, I’m interested in other sports too,” Johnson says.

Sascha Guenter-Schlesinger , '18, is an intern in the Office of Communications and Marketing.

Photo by Jon Pendleton, '18, Video by Suzanne Blais and Rhys Logan