Four years ago in Sochi, Russia, the Philippines made sports history by becoming the first Southeast Asian and tropical nation to send an athletic delegation to the Winter Olympic Games. The country only had one contender, 17-year-old Michael Christian Martinez, competing in the men’s singles figure skating event. Though he did not medal, his performance was promising enough to have the Philippines support him for the 2018 Winter Games at Pyeongchang, this time with a companion, Fil-American Asa Miller in the giant slalom skiing event. Martinez bowed out of contention last Friday, and now Miller too fell short on Sunday.
ESPN-5 reports that the Philippines’ second outing in the Winter Olympics came to another medal-less end when Asa Miller failed to place high enough in the men’s giant slalom. The event, contested at Pyeongchang’s Yongping Alpine Centre February 18, pitted 110 competitors for a shot at Olympic glory on the slopes. Miller, age 17, got to run the giant slalom twice. The first time, he clocked a time of 1:27.52, about 19.25 seconds behind the fastest skier when he had his turn. For the first round he landed at 81st place, but that was enough to reach the medal round.
Only 85 of the 110 qualified to run the giant slalom a second time for the Gold, Silver and Bronze. While Miller did his best, improving from his first time with 1:22.43, the combined total of 2:49.95 with a 31.91 difference only managed to get him 70th place, out of the 75 skiers who managed to complete their giant slalom run for the medals. Ultimately the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics men’s giant slalom Gold went to Austria’s Marcel Hirscher with his combined time of 2:18.04. Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway (2:19.31) won the Silver medal while Frenchman Alexis Pinturault took Bronze (2:19.35).
Asa Miller, born in Portland, Oregon in 2000, is a Filipino citizen through his mother, a native of Santa Cruz, Manila. An early-bird skier since he was 1½ years old, Miller was competing since he was eight. His dual citizenship enables him to compete as an athlete representing the Philippines, and as early as 2016 Miller realized that he could be an Olympian in the 2018 Winter Games. He qualified for Pyeongchang by participating in multiple races to accumulate points set down by the International Ski Federation (FIS), and like Michael Martinez, he was sponsored by the Philippine Olympic Committee.
During the Parade of Nations in the Olympics opening ceremony, Miller carried the Philippine flag. While his teammate Martinez may be hanging up his skates for good after Pyeongchang, the Fil-American teen looks set to come back and represent the country in the next Winter Games at the very least.
Photo courtesy of Asa Miller’s GoFundMe page