Ben Nanasca, the first Filipino and the first from Southeast Asia to participate in the Winter Games, wished the best of luck for Asa Miller as the Filipino-American begins his campaign in giant slalom at the Beijing Winter Olympics on Sunday.
Nanasca was with his cousin Juan Cipriano in the alpine skiing competition of the Sapporo 1972 Games, representing the Philippines in the Winter Games.
The 68-year-old Nanasca now lives in Auckland, New Zealand, and still skis for fun.
“Oh, is it his second Winter Olympics? I don’t really follow [anymore] and I’m not aware of anyone now in the Philippines regarding the Winter Olympics,” he said.
“But I will challenge Asa Miller to beat [or replace] my record, I hope he will.”
He finished 42nd place finish in the men’s giant slalom.
After Nanasca and Cipriano, Michael Teruel placed 71st in giant slalom and 49th in slalom in Albertville 1992, while Miller was 17 when he ranked 70th among 110 skiers in Pyeongchang.
Nanasca googled the 21-year-old Miller and admitted he was impressed.
“I’ve watched some YouTube clips of Asa. He is in good form and skiing well. He’s trained hard and is very passionate about his sport,” said Nanasca. “And he’s been there before so that’s a bonus.”
He said it would hard to compare his Olympic campaign to Miller’s.
“I can see the style of skiing has changed. Wider skis now compared to the long and narrow ones in the 70’s. So hard to compare. But there’s no reason why he won't beat my record,” he said.
“I’m rooting for him and ‘Go Team Philippines! I wish him the very best,” Nanasca said.