For the first time in more than 20 years, an American male skier has a chance to win the FIS overall World Cup title. American whiz-kid Bode Miller trails Austria's Stephan Eberharter by only 8 points with four World Cup events left. Miller, 25, competes in all four disciplines (downhill, super G, giant slalom, slalom), while Eberharter doesn't race slalom. This gives Miller an advantage because he has more starts to earn World Cup points. The FIS scoring system rewards the top 30 racers in each race with points, giving 100 points for first, 80 points for second, 60 for third and so on, down to one point for 30th.
What Miller's advantage means is anyone's guess as the New Hampshire native has had trouble in this year's slalom events, earning points in only three of the previous six races. However, Miller has been turning it on recently, picking up two gold medals (combined and giant slalom) and one silver (super G) at the World Alpine Championships in St. Moritz last week, (the Championships, however, don't count in the overall World Cup standings).
Not since U.S. ski legend Phil Mahre won the overall World Cup title in 1982, has an American male challenged the Europeans for the title of the World's Best Ski Racer. Miller winning the overall title is akin to a European football team winning the Super Bowl or the U.S. Soccer Team winning the World Cup tournament. It would be a monumental achievement.
SKImag.com will keep you updated with the standings each Monday through the final race set for March 16, in Lillihammer, Norway. Follow along with us for the next month as we keep an eye on Bode and his quest to make U.S. ski-racing history.
2003 FIS World Cup Remaining Schedule
Feb. 22-23, Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany; DH, SG
March 1-2, Yongpyong, Korea; SL, GS
March 7-8, Shiga Kogen, Japan; SL, GS
March 12-16, Lillehammer, Norway; DH, SL, GS, SG