Asa Miller crashed out just under 20 seconds into his first run in men’s giant slalom of alpine skiing on a snowy Sunday morning leaving him with Wednesday’s slalom to accomplish his modest goal at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Miller was focused on breaking the top 50 to improve on his 70th-rank finish in his Olympic debut in Pyeongchang four years ago.
But the weather didn’t smile on Miller and 32 other competitions who registered DNF or Did Not Finish across their names and two not starting in the results list. They battled against falling snow—not the artificial type that organizers sprayed on the course days ago—and almost zero visibility.
There were 89 skiers on the start list but only 54 advanced to Sunday afternoon’s second run at the Ice River, which earlier last week played antagonist to the celebrated two-time Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin in women’s giant slalom and slalom.
“It’s certainly a bummer and as the course got skied out,” Miller’s American coach Will Gregorak said. “It’s not good on the upper pitch. I feel bum for him but he had an excellent warm-up this morning.”
So frustrated with his DNF that Miller rushed back to the Olympic Village with dad Kelly.
“Asa didn’t want to ski just to finish, he wants to ski lay down and run,” Gregorak said. “The hard part about this hill is that it comes out as you ride and it gets very slick.”
Wires report said that it was the first time snow had fallen during an alpine skiing race at these Olympics.
Snow has been falling since Saturday at the National Alpine Skiing Center, where athletes had been racing and training on artificial snow until then. A second women’s downhill training run scheduled for Sunday was canceled.
Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt recovered from an early mistake to take the lead after the first run with a time of one minute and 2.92 seconds over the course that has a vertical drop of 424 meters. Stefan Brennsteiner of Austria was 0.04 seconds behind in second and world champion Mathieu Faivre of France was 0.08 behind in third.
“It’s part of alpine skiing,” said Philippine Olympic Committee President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino from Tagaytay City. “But he still has the slalom on Wednesday.”
Gregorak said he is proud of Miller despite the DNF.
“I’m still proud of him, he still put out the work,” he said. “As I said, he didn’t go out [only] to finish. That’s the nature of the sport, that’s what could happen.”
The slalom is set for Wednesday also starting at 10 a.m. for the first run.
“Asa wants to put his head into slalom mode,” Gregorak said. “He’ll take today and let the frustration out and then tomorrow we will go back to slalom.”
The other Southeast Asian skiers entered in the event are Thailand’s Nicola Zanon and Timor Leste’s Yohan Goncalves Goutt, finishing at Nos. 44 and 52, respectively, to advance to the second run.