MANILA, Philippines – A medal in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, China may not be an expectation for Asa Miller, but just like Hidilyn Diaz, he also wants to surpass his finish from the previous Games.
The Filipino-American skier said he draws inspiration from Diaz after the weightlifting star ended the Philippines’ quest for an elusive Olympic gold medal when she ruled in the Tokyo Games last year.
Falling short of the gold in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and settling for silver, Diaz lived up to her earlier pronouncements in Tokyo by setting the tone for the Philippines’ biggest Olympic medal haul, which included two silvers and one bronze from boxing.
“Watching Hidilyn Diaz take the first gold, it was super inspirational,” Miller said in a press conference on Saturday, January 22.
“While I do not have the same expectations for myself in competition, I definitely want to show my improvements and improve on my placement in the upcoming Games compared to how I did in 2018.”
Miller finished 70th out of 110 participants in the giant slalom event during his Olympic debut four years ago in Pyeongchang, Korea.
“While I do not have any placement expectations, I do expect myself to improve on my placement from the last Winter Games,” the 21-year-old said.
“I really just want to be able to display my improvements over the last four years technically. We’ll have to see how it goes. I do expect myself to do pretty well.”
All eyes will be on Miller as he competes in Beijing in February.
Miller, after all, is the Philippines’ lone bet, becoming the first alpine skier to represent the country in two Winter Olympics.
He is also just the second Filipino to see action in back-to-back Winter Games after figure skater Michael Martinez first achieved the feat in the 2014 and 2018 editions.
“I’m coming in far more confident. I was 17 at the time, just barely made qualifications and I just could not believe that I made it, versus this time around, four years later, I made qualifications rather easily,” Miller said.
“I’m very confident of my abilities and where my skiing is at the moment. I’m just hoping I can bring out the best of it on those competition days.”
Miller, who will serve as the Philippines’ flag bearer, will first participate in the giant slalom event scheduled on February 13 before he wraps up his second Olympic stint in the slalom event on February 16. – Rappler.com