Allie Johnson competes in Espot at the 2023 FIS Para Alpine World Championships.
ESPOT, SPAIN – Paralympians Ravi Drugan (Eugene, Oregon), Andrew Haraghey (Enfield, Connecticut) and Allie Johnson (Western Springs, Illinois) each snagged finishes within the world’s top ten as competitors took to the slopes for the downhill competition on the third day of the 2023 FIS Para Alpine World Championships. The seventh-place finish for Johnson was extra special as it’s an event she had previously been unable to complete and just returned to trying since a leg injury. Johnson was the sole female competitor for the U.S. as sit skiers Laurie Stephens (Wenham, Massachusetts) and Saylor O’Brien (Woodland, Utah) elected to not compete after testing the course in the morning’s training run.
“I feel really good,” said Johnson. “It’s the first downhill race that I’ve ever finished and the first downhill run that I’ve done since breaking my leg so I’m really excited.”
“I just wanted to get back on the horse and conquer this fear that I’ve had of downhill for the last two years. I know that I can do anything I put my mind to, and I’ve worked so hard to get here and such a stronger skier than I was the last time.”
In the men’s standing class, two-time Paralympian Haraghey was ecstatic with a career-best tenth place finish to lead the U.S. men, up five spots from his previous best finishes in both his Paralympic Games and world championship runs. Close behind was Thomas Walsh (Vail, Colorado) grabbing the 12th best finish with Jesse Keefe (Bellevue, Idaho) taking 16th and Patrick Halgren (Tolland, Connecticut) snatching the 19th place spot.
“I think that’s my best downhill result ever so I’m pretty stoked on it and stoked to build on it next week,” said Haraghey. “The course felt good up top, it got a little rough in the soft spot on the bottom but made it work and it felt pretty good.”
To round out the day, Drugan and teammate Matthew Brewer (Huntington Beach, California) took home the 10th and 11th place finishes respectively in the men’s sitting class. Competition resumes Thursday, Jan. 26 with the men’s and women’s giant slalom events with the first run beginning at 10:00 a.m. local time/4 a.m. EST. The stream will be available to view online through the FIS with live results available here.
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Wednesday, Jan. 25 Downhill Results
Allie Johnson – 7th, women’s standing
Andrew Haraghey – 10th, men’s standing
Ravi Drugan – 10th, men’s sitting
Thomas Walsh – 12th, men’s standing
Matthew Brewer – 11th, men’s sitting
Jesse Keefe – 16th, men’s standing
Patrick Halgren – 19th, men’s standing
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