Yanqing, China—Asa Miller vies in the men’s giant slalom of alpine skiing at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in four days, bringing with him modest improvements since his games’ debut in Pyeongchang, 2018.
He’s humble with his goal, knowing pretty well that the 150 athletes that will line up at the start ramp beginning at 10 a.m. on Sunday at the National Alpine Skiing Centre are far more experienced that him.
“I don’t think I’m in contention to win gold, but I’m certainly in a position to improve my performance,” said Miller, the only Filipino competing in these games and one of only a handful from Southeast Asia.
“But I want to be better, improve on my previous performance and give a proud representation of the Philippines,” said the 21-year-old athlete who, since donning the country’s colors when he was 16, is fully backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, headed by Chairman William Ramirez and the Philippine Olympic Committee led by Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.
Miller’s No. 70 in the Olympic ranking that was based from his finish in Pyeongchang, where he competed as a 17-year-old high schooler.
Anything can happen in the giant slalom where speed is as essential as skills in navigating the Ice River—the giant slalom course on the slope of Xiaohaituo Mountain.
The Ice River can be so ferocious that it doesn’t play favorites.
Two-time gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin of the US exited quickly for the second time on Wednesday as her Olympic gold medal dream crashed down the mountain.
Miller’s 53-year-old dad Kelly, however, told his son to ski his “very best and never say never” in trying to surpass the challenges.
“It’s a big challenge for sure, I mean you never say never,” Kelly Miller said. “We really need to train hard this week and ski the best he has ever had in his entire life probably.”
“But in Pyeongchang, there’s someone who won the Super G,” the elder Miller said. “She never really won before but I don’t want to put pressure on him [Asa].”
Kelly Miller was referring to Ester Ledecka of Czech Republic who surprised everyone in the 2018 Olympics where she won the Super-G gold.
Organizers have yet to release the start list for Sunday’s men’s giant slalom but Philippine Ski and Snowboard Federation President Jim Apelar confirmed Miller’s entry by the International Ski Federation.
Miller, whose American coach Will Gregorak is arriving on Thursday here, is also competing in men’s slalom on February 16 starting at 10 a.m. also at the Ice River.