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Miller Feels Confident About GS After 3-Week Break


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ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (Feb. 11) — Double medalist Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), off giant slalom skis for more than three weeks, completed his second day of training Tuesday and said the men’s GS title race at the 2003 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships would be wide open.

NBC will broadcast World Championships coverage for two hours each day next weekend — 4-6 p.m. EST Saturday and 1-3 p.m. EST.

Miller, who last raced Saturday in the downhill (where he was 16th) after collecting the super G silver medal and gold in combined, said he felt comfortable heading into Wednesday’s GS on Corviglia. Until this week’s two days of training, he hadn’t trained or raced giant slalom since Jan. 14 in Adelboden, Switzerland; before that, though, he had won two giant slaloms this season (Alta Badia, Italy before Christmas, then Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, in early January).

“I don’t believe in favorites,” Miller said. “Favorites usually don’t win the race at a big event. It’s all about going out there and being fast and thinking about your skiing; I’m skiing pretty well now and I’m going to stay focused on that.

“The last two days I got on my giant slalom skis again, and I’m feeling comfortable on them. I think I have a good chance as well as a number of other guys.”

Miller will be joined by Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT), Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA) and Dane Spencer (Boise, ID). Schlopy and Spencer have trained in Italy with Chip Knight (Stowe, VT) and Tom Rothrock (Cashmere, WA), who are expected to race Sunday in slalom with Miller and Schlopy as the championships close.

Men’s Head Coach Phil McNichol said the training had gone well “and Erik’s looked very strong, so we’re optimistic on a couple of counts.”

“I feel comfortable on this hill,” Miller said. “I don’t really limit myself by different terrain and different tracks, so I feel really comfortable about racing here, as I do every day I put my skis on.

“The snow’s aggressive, it’s grippy. Right now, my skis are responding well in the snow and I feel extremely comfortable.”

Only two other U.S. men have medaled twice in a World Championships: Billy Kidd did it twice as he won the combined gold and slalom bronze at the 1970 championships in Val Gardena, Italy, and the slalom silver medal and combined bronze in 1964 at the Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, when the Olympics doubled as the FIS World Championships. Phil Mahre was slalom silver medalist at Lake Placid in 1980, the last time the Olympics doubled as a FIS World Championships; the combined was not an Olympic event but he won gold in the Worlds combined calculation.