Snow gets tough on Miller

ASA MILLER has Wednesday’s slalom to look forward to.

YANQING, China—Asa Miller skied down the Ice River for a little over 15 seconds before crashing out—and so did 32 others out of the 84 on the start list of men’s giant slalom of alpine skiing in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics on Sunday morning.

“It was certainly a bummer,” Miller’s American coach Will Gregorak said. “it’s not good on the upper pitch. I feel bum for him but he had an excellent warm up this morning.”

Miller, 21, was obviously disappointed about getting knocked out of the morning first run when real snow fell almost heavily on Saturday and Sunday resulting to poor visibility in the venue. He immediately left for the Olympic Village and stayed in his room although he promised to give an interview later in the day.

“We’re giving him some space at the moment,” said Jim Apelar, president of the Philippine Ski and Snowboard Federation who cheered Miller with Chef de Mission Bones Floro, International Olympic Committee Representative to the Philippines Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski, Philippine Skating Union head Nikki Cheng and Athlete’s Welfare Officer Joebert Yu from the Olympic Family section.

“It’s part of alpine skiing,” said Philippine Olympic Committee President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino from Tagaytay City. “But he still has the slalom on Wednesday.”

Miller was focused on breaking the top 50 to improve on his 70th-rank finish in his Olympic debut in Pyeongchang four years ago.

But the weather didn’t smile on Miller and 32 other competitions who registered DNF or Did Not Finish across their names—with two not starting—in the results list. They battled against falling snow—not the artificial type which organizers sprayed on the course days ago—and almost zero visibility.

There were 89 skiers on the start list but only 54 advanced to Sunday afternoon’s second run at the Ice River, which earlier last week played antagonist to the celebrated two-time Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin in women’s giant slalom and slalom.

“Asa didn’t want to ski just to finish, he wants to ski, lay down and run,” Gregorak said. “The hard part about this hill is that it comes out as you ride and it gets very slick.”

Wires report said that it was the first time snow has fallen during an alpine skiing race at these Olympics.

Snow has been falling since Saturday at the National Alpine Skiing Center, where athletes had been racing and training on artificial snow until then. A second women’s downhill training run scheduled for Sunday was canceled.

Gregorak said he is proud of Miller despite the DNF.

“I’m still proud of him, he still put out the work,” he said. “Like I said, he didn’t go out [only] to finish. That’s the nature of the sport, that’s what could happen.”

The slalom is set Wednesday also starting at 10 a.m. for the first run.

“Asa wants to put his head into slalom mode,” Gregorak said. “He’ll take today and let the frustration out and then tomorrow we will go back to slalom.”

Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt was as superb in the delayed second run as he did in topping the first round that he went on to claim his first Olympic gold medal in the event.

Odermatt coped with the conditions and the delay—and a first-run mistake—to post an unofficial combined time of two minutes and 09.35 seconds. Zan Kranjec of Slovenia took silver, 0.19 seconds behind, and world champion Mathieu Faivre of France earned bronze, 1.34 behind.

Image credits: KELLY MILLER


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