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Honoring 2022 Winter Olympic Athletes: Conversations with Breezy Johnson

Breezy may have had to postpone her dream of qualifying for the Winter Olympic Games this year, but that hasn't diminished her drive to do what she loves: ski fast. Breezy gives us an exclusive, inside look into her inspiring positive attitude despite her injury.


HERE’S TO SHOWING UP EVERYDAY—NO MATTER WHAT

We built bande to provide the highest-caliber online fitness experience available for life’s athletes, people who train hard to fuel powerful lives. Today, we honor all of the world-class athletes who are competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics. We get to witness their polished performances over the next two weeks, without much of a glance into how hard they’ve worked to get to this rare stage. But we know for sure it’s been grueling and intense. And worth every ounce of sweat.

We are especially proud of one US Ski Team member and bande member, Breezy Johnson, who inspired and helped create our SkiFit program. Breezy announced last week that she had to pull out of the Olympic Games after injuring her knee. But here’s the thing…she made the announcement from the gym, where she was in the middle of an upper body workout.

Here’s to all you athletes out there. And Breezy, here’s to your resilience—and to training hard, living big, and skiing fast. 
Breezy Skiing
INTERVIEW WITH BREEZY

Breezy, we all know you as a professional ski racer and want to congratulate you on such an inspiring career on the course. Aside from being a pro-athlete, we’d love to know about all of you. Tell us about your hobbies, interests, pursuits off the mountain, any dreams you have outside of athletics that you don’t often get to speak about? 

Breezy Johnson Working Out

I don’t know that I am that exciting of a person. I’ve always dreamed of being a professional athlete. So a lot of my identity is wrapped around being an athlete. But I also think I have a unique disposition that means I love all things athletic. My biggest regret as an adult is that I didn’t do as many sports as I wish I would have as a kid. I love Volleyball, tennis and gymnastics. But didn’t do them as much when I was younger. This means I am not as good at them as an adult as I would like to be. There were reasons, financial, logistical or social as to why I didn’t do those sports. But it would have been fun.

I love all things that involve using my body. In addition to skiing, I hike, I’ve recently gotten into mountain biking, I run, and I slackline. I love the feeling of fitness and using my body. Even if I weren’t an athlete I would be extremely active.

Outside of my athletic pursuits and hobbies, I love to cook, I garden and grow my own food (as much as the cold and short summers in Jackson allow), and I love to knit. All of my hats and headbands in the finish at ski races this season were my own creation.

This past month has been a real trial for you. For our readers who don’t know, you were headed towards the Olympics and had to withdraw due to a knee injury. What’s keeping you moving forward after such a difficult change in plans?

I always dreamed of being an Olympic medalist. And so withdrawing from the Games, especially when people said there was a chance I could compete, was the hardest decision of my life. But I got to the point where I was just hoping I could get through the process of skiing, to achieve the outcome of the racing. I love ski racing. I love the process of going fast, the feeling of skiing. And I knew that a small chance at that outcome in one race (and a medal was by no means guaranteed with where my body was at) wasn’t worth the possibility of a whole season next year, where I could enjoy the process, and the outcomes.

I think there are the big things that keep you going and the small things. For me the big things are easy. I love ski racing. In the last two seasons I have honestly been blown away at how happy I have been. Just so happy to be doing what I love and to be successful. I am working to get back to that happiness. But when you look at such a long rehab road sometimes you need to be motivated by the little things. Some days the big things will get you out of bed and through the door but the little things keep you sane and get a smile on your face. This could be getting a new PR at my favorite upper body exercise, pull ups, or it could be the new cute outfit I plan to wear to the gym. It is also surrounding myself with good people that I genuinely want to go see, and who I trust to get me back, better than ever.

Breezy Skiing Olympics

In the same vein, what advice would you give to someone going through an extreme disappointment? Is there a quality or attitude of being a pro-athlete that our readers can also harness to move through challenging times? 

I think my attitude with recovery is to maximize whatever situation you are in. Oh you didn’t qualify for that championship? Use that time to train and up your game over the competition. Got hurt? Use that time to maximize your strength to come back stronger than ever. Look at your situation, find the parts that can make you better and get deep into those.

Also adversity provides the opportunity for change. We are creatures of habit. I firmly believe that it isn’t my ability to motivate myself, or work harder that makes me better, it’s just that I have habits deeply ingrained to act like a champion. I don’t have to motivate myself to go to the gym, I just go. I have the habits of working harder than everyone else so deeply ingrained that just doing the same as everyone else feels like slacking. 

Injury shakes up your entire world. And that change, if you let it, can help you make better habits. If you are going to rehab every day you can start going to the gym every day. If you are looking for a new job you can add take a class to your list of to dos. When the world around you changes, you change with it, change for the better.

Beyond training as a professional ski racer, why do you train?

I love using my body. I train to feel good, healthy and happy. Last summer I started doing a chill 30 minute spin on some of my ‘off’ days, because just moving makes me feel better than sitting around. I also am fiercely competitive, I also love to keep up with the Joneses. I ran 20 miles two summers ago because I thought it would be fun to do with my friend. Working out with friends—I just find it super stimulating.


What is your outlook for 2022?

2022 is looking like a hard year. I have at least 8 months of recovery ahead of me. But I am hoping to continue to work on myself and build myself back up for a great end of the year.
Breezy Johnson bande workout

 

Tell us what you appreciate about bande? What are your favorite modalities? What sets bande apart from other things you do to stay strong?

I love that Bande has live workouts. I too struggle to motivate myself to workout. But from a young age it was always, if you’re meeting someone, for practice, workout or whatever, you have to be there. Bande’s live workouts keep me from procrastinating. I love the Barre and boxing workouts but also the stretching and recovery sessions. I love the burn of the Barre and I always love anything boxing because I like the confidence of feeling like I can beat someone up. The stretching are particularly important because I often work hard, but I don’t give myself enough time for recovery and the stretching classes remind me to give myself some time for recovering.

MORE OLYMPIC STORIES

“We’re trying to achieve incredible things”—but we’re also human. Watch top Winter Olympians talk about mental health and the process of staying healthy.

“I’m not coming back as a DJ - I’m coming back as a skier.” Watch Benjamin Alexander: Jamaica's first Olympic alpine skier; inspired by 'Cool Runnings'.

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