‘Absolutely unreal’: Asa Miller waves Philippine flag at Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremonies

February 5, 2022 - 5:29 AM
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2022 Beijing Olympics - Opening Ceremony - National Stadium, Beijing, China - February 4, 2022. Philippines contingent is seen during the athletes parade at the the opening ceremony. (Reuters/Phil Noble)

Despite having no winter season, the Philippines is once again eyeing to put on a strong show at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games with alpine skier Asa Miller as its lone representative.

Asa, who previously competed for the country in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, said he is more than excited and ready to represent the country once more.

“I’m 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’ll have representations at the game and I can do that,” Asa said during a press conference organized by his backers SM Skating, last January 22.

On Friday, Asa proudly carried the Philippine flag during the Parade of Nations at the opening ceremonies of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics held at Beijing National Stadium. He arrived in China early this week.

“Wow wow wow! Absolutely unreal to have held the flag for a second time!!” Asa wrote on an Instagram post.

“Thank you everyone for your kind words and support❤️🇵🇭,” he wrote.

 

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A post shared by Asa Miller (@asa.miller)

More than ready

Since this is his second Olympic appearance, Asa said he is hopeful to improve his 2018 placements.

The 21-year-old skier finished 70th out of 110 competitors in 2018.

“Being 17 at the time, I was a young gun among seasoned athletes used to the pressure of such a large event,” Asa said.

“I hope to showcase my improved skills and the experience I’ve gained over the last four years,” he added.

Asa also said that he finds Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz’s gold finish at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics “super inspirational.”

READ: Winter Olympian Asa Miller inspired by Hidilyn Diaz’ gold medal run

Since representing the Philippines in the last five years, Asa shared that he has entered around 100 competitions if not more.

The athlete, whose hometown is in Portland, Oregon said he trains in the mountains five days a week. He took two years off school to focus on developing his skiing skills in Aspen, Colorado.

“Over there, I took time to focus on refining my technique and mental skills for better performance in competition,” he said.

He said his preparations have not been bad despite the pandemic and having caught COVID-19 during the Christmas season.

Asa will compete in two events, the men’s giant slalom on February 13 and the men’s slalom on February 16

The lone Philippine representative is accompanied by Chef de Mission Bones Floro, Philippine Ski and Snowboard Federation President Jim Palomar Apelar, COVID-19 liaison officer Nikki Cheng, athlete welfare officer Jobert Yu, and Asa’s coach Will Gregor.

‘Go for gold’

Ahead of the games, messages of support poured in for the Asa.

“Go for the gold!,” a Twitter user said.

“Our lone winter Olympian. We’re already proud! Laban!” another tweeted.

Philippine Sports Commissioner Celia Kiram said that the country consistently sending snow sports athletes despite the absence of the winter season in the Philippines just goes to show that Filipino athletes are very versatile and talented.

To support Asa’s Beijing Olympics bid, Bank of China, the official banking partner of the Beijing Winter Olympics, together with SM Supermalls, Philippine Sports Commission, and the Philippine Olympic Committee, organized an exhibition of the best skaters from the Philippine Skating Union in the SM Mall of Asia skating rink.

“It’s extremely important that we continue supporting our Filipino athletes, despite the challenges of the pandemic,” Kiram said.

“Because an athlete’s success doesn’t simply speak about his or her own exceptional capabilities, it also speaks loudly about the support we are all able to give him or her,” she added.

Asa is also hopeful that his performance and representation could encourage more athletes to join the

“I hope my journey serves as motivation and an example for other Filipino athletes pursuing winter sports,” he said.