Park City, Ut. -- Feb. 20, 2002 (AP article by Erica Bulman) -- Bode Miller will try to make more history on Thursday, this time in the giant slalom.
Miller ended an eight-year medal drought for U.S. men Alpine skiers by rallying with adramatic final slalom run to capture silver in the combined. Now he'll try to becomethe first U.S. male medalist in the giant slalom.
"For me, the giant slalom is the biggest race," Miller said. "That's the biggestevent in skiing. I think it has always been a strength of mine since the beginning."
Miller says his greatest challenges likely will come from World Cup giant slalom leaderFrederic Covili of France, Lasse Kjus of Norway and overall World Cup leader StephanEberharter of Austria
"There are so many guys who are fast," he said. "I know I have a lot of speed inGS, but I come into this race not being able to guess a favorite."
Miller has victories in four World Cup races this season -- one in the giant slalom and three in the slalom.
In Val d'Isere, France, early this season, Miller became the first American skier to wina World Cup giant slalom since Phil Mahre in 1983. The next day, in Madonna diCampiglio, Italy, he won a slalom, the first to do so since Steve Mahre that sameseason. He won a second slalom in Switzerland and a night slalom in Austria inJanuary.
Covili, leader of the World Cup giant slalom standings and winner of two races thisseason, is one of the main contenders for gold. Eberharter is aiming for gold aftersettling for bronze in the downhill and silver in the super giant slalom.
Eberharter proved himself a serious threat for gold after winning the giant slalom inSt. Moritz, Switzerland, and climbing into second in the discipline rankings in the lastWorld Cup race ahead of the games.
Kjus will be looking for his second medal after finishing second in the downhill.
Conspicuously absent from the games, and in particular the giant slalom, is double1998 Olympic champion Hermann Maier, still recovering from a motorcycle accident.
Even if Miller fails in the giant slalom, he still would have an excellent chanceSaturday in the slalom. He hopes to become the first American man to win anOlympic medal in the slalom since the Mahres finished 1-2 in 1984.
But if given a choice, Miller would take a victory in the giant slalom.
"I would choose the GS," Miller said. "I think the better man wins in GS more often.I think slalom is the easier sport to dominate. In GS you can't really do that, there'sjust no room."
"I have a better chance in slalom because my speed puts me ahead of those guys.I can make mistakes and still win."