Miller Wins Gold Cup Slalom

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Snowbasin, UT, Dec. 30, 2001--Bode Miller (Franconia, N.H.) secured his second U.S. Olympic Team spot Sunday when he claimed the men's slalom with a narrow win over Erik Schlopy (Park City, Utah) at the U.S. Ski Team Gold Cup.

ABC Sports will broadcast the event Sunday, Jan. 13 at 1 p.m. (EST).

Miller, who earlier this season won slalom and giant slalom World Cup events, had a combined time of 1 minute, 33.08 seconds, good for a .07-second margin of victory over Schlopy. Casey Puckett (Snowmass, CO) was third in the field of 13 finishers on the overcast day on the Wildflower course in 1:33.69. Miller had the fastest first run time (45.74) and tied with Schlopy for the fastest second-run time (47.34).

Miller, 24, the fourth U.S. athlete to earn an Olympic team berth in the four-day, winner-take-all competition, earned $10,000 for his victory.

"I didn't think I had anything to prove to myself, the fans or to my teammates," said Miller, who did not finish the giant slalom Saturday. "But I did want to have two, good clean runs and I did that."

Schlopy, who earned an Olympic team position with his victory in the giant slalom, continued to show encouraging signs that he's recovering well from his lingering bout with bronchitis.

"Bode has won a couple of World Cups, so to end up .07 behind him is a good place to start," said Schlopy. "It's tough to lose by .07, especially when Bode has already qualified for the Olympics. So, it would have been nice to have that. But today was a good step in the right direction."

Miller said that the win improved his confidence and added that he plans to compete in the slalom, giant slalom, and combined events in the Winter Olympics.

"Eric is one of the fastest slalom skiers in the world, especially on a course like this, and I'm consistently beating him. I'm skiing now as fast as anyone in the world."

The U.S. Ski Team Gold Cup concludes Monday with men's and women's moguls at Deer Valley and men's and women's freestyle aerials Monday night, also at Deer Valley. The final four U.S. Olympic team berths will be determined in the events. Each of the four winners will also earn $10,000.

U.S SKI TEAM GOLD CUP
Snowbasin, Utah -- Dec. 30
Men's Slalom

1. Bode Miller, Franconia, N.H., 1:33.08
2. Erik Schlopy, Park City, Utah, 1:33:15
3. Casey Puckett, Snowmass, Colo., 1:33.69
4. Tom Rothrock, Cashmere, Wash., 1:34.10
5. Chip Knight, Stowe, VT, 1:34.96