Asa Bisquera Miller is carrying the Olympic hopes and dreams of the Philippines through the snowy mountains of Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The 17-year-old high school senior from Portland, Oregon has qualified for next month’s Winter Olympics, competing in the giant slalom event.
“It’s crazy especially to know that I’m the only one that is representing a whole country,” Mziller says. “I still haven’t completely wrapped my mind around it. I know the feeling is going to be pretty intense once I arrive in South Korea so I really can’t wait for that.”
Miller’s mother is from Santa Cruz, Manila, and still has relatives there. The dual citizen, who continues training in Oregon, video chatted with us from the Philippine Ski Federation’s Southern California office.
“I first started skiing when I was 19 months old when my parents put me in the skis and I began racing at 8 years old. My dad when he was younger first learning how to ski he saw the ski racers in Tahoe California ripping around, and he had a vision for his kids to do that. From there he signed me up to ski race when I was 8 just to make me a better skier, and later it just picked up and I got more competitive I just started liking it a lot more and it drove me to get better.”
Miller will be the fifth Philippine athlete to compete in the Winter Olympics. He’ll be the third to do so in the giant slalom.
For the Philippine Ski Federation that has been scouring the world for other Pinoy athletes in snow sports, they hope that Miller is the beginning of a new era.
Five young kids, up and coming kids that I’m really excited about and hopefully this will kind of jumpstart and just spread the excitement worldwide among Filipinos in the snow countries,” said president Jim Apelar.
The Miller family had started a Go Fund Me campaign to help fund his Olympic trip, before they realized that the Philippine Olympic Committee had taken care of his accommodations.
They’ll use the fund instead to help with the costs of other qualifying and training events.
“We’re obviously very appreciative of the support from strangers and friends and family but we’re here to support him,” said Miller’s mother Polly. “Whatever it’ll take to get him there and keep him healthy and competing and as long as he makes everybody proud where happy to do it.
Miller will leave for South Korea on February 5th, and will take part in the opening ceremony on the 9th, he’ll compete on the 18th.