Winter Olympics

FAST FACTS: Who is Filipino Winter Olympian Asa Miller?

Delfin Dioquino
FAST FACTS: Who is Filipino Winter Olympian Asa Miller?

IMPROVED. Asa Miller is confident of a better showing in Beijing after picking up valuable lessons from his Olympic debut in Pyeongchang.

Asa Miller Instagram page

Filipino-American skier Asa Miller competes in the Winter Olympics for the second straight edition as the Philippines' lone bet in the Beijing Games

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino-American skier Asa Miller carries the hopes of the entire nation in the Winter Olympics as he serves as the Philippines’ lone bet in the Beijing Games in China.

The 21-year-old will compete in the men’s giant slalom event on February 13 and in the men’s slalom event on February 16.

Here are some fast facts about Miller:

Ski lover

Miller got introduced to the sport at an early age by his American father Kelly.

He began skiing even before he turned two and started competing in races by the age of eight, with Miller saying his love for the sport only grew deeper when he became aware he can qualify for the Winter Olympics.

At 17, Miller debuted in the Olympics in the 2018 Pyeongchang Games in Korea alongside figure skater Michael Martinez.

“It really kicked in when I was 16 and I began ski racing for the Philippines and I thought we could make it to the Olympics with this,” Miller said.

“Ever since, it has become more rewarding, more challenging. It really makes it the sport that I love for that reason.”

Miller finished 70th out of 110 participants in the giant slalom event in Pyeongchang.

This time, the Portland native is confident of a better showing in Beijing.

“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.”

Olympic repeat

Miller needed to make what he felt were necessary sacrifices for another shot at the Olympics.

After Pyeongchang, he took two years off from school before he began attending Westminster College in Utah to focus on his skiing career.

“It’s tiring, you have to go hit the gym afterwards and put in a lot of hours of work. But it’s always worth it in the end,” Miller said.

Miller also dropped his other sports, notably baseball.

“As skiing became more serious, I definitely wanted to put all my time on that one. The rest is history.”

His hard work and effort paid dividends as Miller easily surpassed the threshold of 160 points set by the International Ski Federation to qualify for Beijing.

Fueled by family

Miller attributes a large part of his success to his father and Filipino mother Polly, who hails from Sta. Cruz, Manila.

After all, his parents supported his skiing career even though it is not exactly a cheap sport, with top-of-the-line equipment needed for an elite athlete like him.

“My mom’s super proud of me, of course. They supported me the whole way. As long as I have a plan and a goal and I decide I’m going to put my mind into it, they’re happy to support me.

“When I said this is what I want to do, they were there from the get-go. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t my mom and my dad’s support for helping me achieve this goal.”

Even in Beijing, Miller is accompanied by his father.

Asa Miller and his father Kelly Miller. POC Beijing Winter Olympics Media

Miller said he is out to make not just his family in the Philippines but the entire nation proud.

“To be able to represent my family who still lives in Manila and do the thing that I know how to do best, which is skiing, it does mean the world to me so this is my form of expression,” Miller said.

“I hope to make my family proud and the rest of the country as well.”

Stamping his class

Despite going empty-handed in Pyeongchang, Miller made history as the first Filipino alpine skier to compete in the Olympics since Michael Teruel saw action in the 1992 Albertville Games in France.

By qualifying for Beijing, he now owns the distinction of being the first Filipino skier to participate in two Olympics.

Miller also became the second Filipino to take part in multiple Winter Games after Martinez, who donned the national colors in the 2014 Sochi Games in Russia and in Pyeongchang.

Now, Miller will be gunning for the highest finish by a Filipino skier in the Olympics, which is held by Ben Nanasca who landed at 42nd place in the giant slalom event of the 1972 Sapporo Games in Japan.

“Skiing has always been my passion and this is what I feel I’m certainly best at. It is more than just a sport to me, it is like a lifestyle, a form of expression.” – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.