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  Saturday, 22 December, 2001, 15:49 GMT
Making a name for themselves
Matt Chilton will be writing regularly for BBC Sport Online
BBC Ski Sunday commentator Matt Chilton looks at skiers making a name on the world stage.

The early season racing results have featured a clutch of new names mingling with the established racers of the white circus.

In the men's giant slalom, Frederic Covili of France has burst onto the scene, winning races in Austria and Italy.

He hinted at some promising things to come by taking a bronze at last year's World Championships in St Anton. But now he heads the giant slalom World Cup standings and is France's best hope for gold at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Bode Miller is another athlete sending out shockwaves in the technical discipline.

Miller has been in awesome form
Miller has been in awesome form
In early December, he won a giant slalom on a Sunday morning in Val d'Isere in France - then jumped in a car and drove for seven hours to Madonna di Campiglio in Italy, where he won a floodlit slalom.

Such versatility and stamina is rare and Miller's admirers are growing in number.

If there was one word to describe this affable American it would simply be dude! It really is Miller time!

In the men's downhill, Stephan Eberharter's second coming continues to gather pace.

Allow me to explain....

Back in 1991 at the World Champioships in Saalbach-Hinterglem, a 22-year-old Eberharter won two gold medals - in super-G and combined.

Shortly afterwards, his great friend and fellow World Champion, Rudolph Nierlich was tragically killed in a road accident.

A grief-stricken Eberharter abandoned ski racing completely, only to return with a vengeance five years later.

In the absence of team-mate Hermann Maier, Eberharter is once again leading the way in the men's speed events and shows no signs of slowing down.

Berthod won her first downhill at St Moritz
Berthod won her first downhill at St Moritz
On the women's tour, new names are also emerging as potential Olympic medallists.

Laure Pequegnot of France won the first women's slalom of the season - her maiden World Cup win in Copper Mountain.

And Switzerland's Sylviane Berthod had a debut downhill victory in St Moritz.

As the older, more experienced competitors, such as Sweden's Pernilla Wiberg and America's Picabo Street, edge closer to retirement, they can depart in the knowledge that ski racing is healthy with talent oozing from every pore.

Long may it continue.

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