Lesson learned for Miller after disappointment in giant slalom

Asa Miller of the Philippines with his friend Shannon Ogbnai Abeda of Eritrea who is also one of the participants in Sunday’s men’s giant slalom event. Photo courtesy of Asa Miller on Instagram.

Asa Miller swore he learned his lesson after recording a DNF (did not finish) in the giant slalom last Sunday, amid snow and near-zero visibility on the Ice River course at the Winter Olympics of Beijing 2022.

Miller revealed that his concentration slipped while waiting for his round to begin, and that he was aggressive from the start in trying to get through the gates. Unfortunately, his tactic backfired and he only skied 15.9 seconds before collapsing.

“I just have to stick to my plan for the next race,” the 21-year-old Miller said.

The Filipino-American athlete didn’t blame the weather, even though Sunday marked the first time in weeks that it snowed on the Ice River. The change in weather was clearly felt by the athletes, with 32 of the 84 giant slalom competitors earning DNFs.

“I had kind of lost my focus when I walked into the gate for so long and forgot what I want to think about, so I have to make sure I stick to my plan for the slalom of Wednesday,” Miller said.

Miller was No. 63 on the starting roster.

“I’m pretty disgusted with this [DNF], but I tried my best to ski and went fast,” Miller said. “Ski racing is a tough sport. Many of the top skiers struggled yesterday [Sunday]and a lot of people didn’t finish, so I’m glad I gave my best and put it on the line.”

His American coach Will Gregorak observed after the race that Miller was skiing not to finish “but to run” and aim for a good result.

The Filipino-American two-time Olympian expressed his frustration by leaving for the Olympic Village right away and skipped a request for an interview at the Mixed Zone.

He appeared to be in better spirits on Monday as he watched the giant slalom medal ceremony, with Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt receiving his first Olympic gold medal. Slovenian Zan Kranjec won silver and Frenchman Mathieu Faivre bronze.

Miller, who placed 70th in the giant slalom at Pyeongchang 2018, will seek redemption on Wednesday when he competes in the slalom, his second and final event of the Beijing Winter Games.

“I’m looking forward to slalom and I know I’ll do my best again and hopefully things line up and we get a good result,” Miller said.

“Thank you so much guys for supporting me. I read all the comments and messages, they are all nice,” he also said, in a message of gratitude to his supporters. “I know I didn’t get a good result yesterday and you always support me anyway, so thank you very much.”

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