Chris Mazdzer wins USA's first-ever male singles luge medal

Leslie Jones Chris Mazder Olympics Luge
Leslie Jones and Chris Mazder Blayzen

12 February, 2018

Chris Mazdzer is the first American male to win a medal in the singles luge event since 1964, when the sport debuted at the Olympics.

Chris Mazdzer of Saranac Lake is a hair away from bronze-medal position halfway through the Winter Olympic men's singles luge competition.

"And I didn't know what to attribute that to". Loch had appeared well on his way to earning his third Olympic gold medal in a row - but a disastrous final run unraveled his bid for a three-peat, knocking him not only out of the top spot but also off the podium entirely. Germany's Johannes Ludwig took third in 3:10.932. Frustrated, he went to fellow competitors looking for a solution, and based on what he learned from them, he made a decision to rebuild his sled late in the World Cup season.

Chris Mazdzer reacts following his track-record run during the luge men's singles at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChnag 2018 on February 11, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea.

On the biggest stage, he delivered the race of his life. I can hardly believe it. After his final run, he ran into the stands immediately to hug his family.

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A history-making, record-tying threepeat was there for the taking for Loch; then, suddenly, the best slider in the world couldn't slide error-free. He's always the favorite. The previous best for a US man was fourth, by Adam Heidt in 2002 and by Tony Benshoof in 2006.

USA teammate Tucker West of CT stands in 18th place, and Taylor Morris of Utah is 23rd.

"It's great for sure", Benshoof said moments after the result went final.

It took help from team mates, friends and rivals in the close-knit luge community for Mazdzer to unlock a winning combination that would transform his sled into a chariot of glory on the hard ice track of Pyeongchang. "Anything can happen at an Olympics, for sure". In both 2010 and 2014, the 29-year-old placed 13th in the singles luge. He said three weeks ago that he never felt worse about where he was on the sled, and vowed to find his way again. Mazdzer could very well contend for a medal on Sunday.

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