Miller Optimistic despite GS Cancellation

Bode Celebrates 1210

SHIGAKOGEN, Japan March 7, 2003 (AP)--Bode Miller is running out of time to catch Stephan Eberharter in the World Cup overall standings.

With high winds and poor visibility at the Shigakogen ski resort, organizers called off a World Cup giant slalom race on Friday.

The cancellation was a major disappointment for Miller, who is trying to become the first American to win the World Cup overall title since Phil Mahre in 1983.

Eberharter, the defending overall champion, has 1,153 points _ 93 more than Miller.

"Sure it's disappointing,'' Miller said. "But to say that one race ruined my whole season is a bit unrealistic. Stephan has had some great races in giant slalom this season.''

Shigakogen is the next-to-last event of the World Cup season. The final is scheduled for March 12-16 in Lillehammer, Norway, site of the 1994 Winter Olympics.

"It's still very possible to catch him if I ski well enough,'' Miller said.

Miller won the giant slalom at the World Championships in St. Moritz, and is second in the discipline's standings behind Michael Von Gruenigen of Switzerland.

Miller will try to turn around a dismal year in the slalom, which had been his best discipline. Eberharter, stronger in the speed events, will not compete in the slalom.

Miller earned a medal in just one slalom event this year. He crashed out or veered off course four times, and twice finished out of the top 10.

"I think more than anything else it's the conditions,'' Miller said. "We've had very few races with conditions that I've trained under. In slalom, there is a very small margin of error and you have to have a little luck to be consistent.''

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