Winter Olympics: How Hidilyn inspires Pinoy alpine skier Asa Miller

Karl Cedrick Basco, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 22 2022 12:38 PM

Philippines' Asa Miller competes in the Men's Giant Slalom at the Jeongseon Alpine Center during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 18, 2018. File photo. Dimitar Dilkoff, AFP.
Philippines' Asa Miller competes in the Men's Giant Slalom at the Jeongseon Alpine Center during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 18, 2018. File photo. Dimitar Dilkoff, AFP.

As Filipino-American Olympic skier Asa Miller tempered expectations for himself ahead of the Beijing Winter Games in February, he said he draws inspiration from the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold medalist, Hidilyn Diaz.

During a virtual press conference Saturday, Miller acknowledged he was amazed and proud to watch weightlifter Diaz clinching the country’s first Olympic gold in 97 years.

“Super inspirational, wow. I don't have the same expectations for myself in the competition. I definitely want to show my improvement and improve my placement in the upcoming Games compared to how I did in 2018. It's a huge inspiration and I'm super happy about that,” Miller said.

Miller, whose mother Polly is from Sta. Cruz, Manila, said he was just eyeing to improve his finish at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, where he finished 70th out of the 110 participants in Giant Slalom. 

“I don't have any placement expectations. I do expect myself to improve my placement from the last Winter Games,” the alpine skier reiterated. 

When it comes to his preparations for the Beijing Games, Miller said he did not have much of a problem despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic since skiing is an outdoor sport. 

He spent most of his time training and competing in the slopes of Utah, describing his preparation as “pretty easy.”

“The preparations haven't been too bad since skiing is an outdoor sport. COVID hasn't been as much as a threat. Overall, it's been pretty easy…Training has been good and this winter has been great so far,” Miller said. 

He acknowledged he does not allow the health crisis to get the best of him despite revealing contracting coronavirus over a month ago.

He said it did not affect his training since he tested positive during the Christmas break and felt sick for only 2 days. 

While he is not eyeing a medal, Miller said he was excited to represent the Philippines at the Winter Games. 

“I'm very excited, very proud. And I can't wait to show off and represent the Philippines at the Games. It does mean a ton and I'm super happy that we will have a representation at the Games and I can do that,” Miller said. 

Comparing it to his experience 4 years ago in South Korea, the 21-year-old Olympian is more confident with his abilities in Beijing. 

“This time around, I met the qualifications rather easily. I'm very confident in 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 added. 

He will be competing in both the Giant Slalom and Slalom in the Winter Games. He will also be the country's flag bearer at the opening ceremonies.

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