Chris Mazdzer Wins US's First Men's Singles Olympic Luge Medal

Peter Castro
February 12, 2018

The USA claimed silver and bronze in doubles at the 1998 Nagano Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, and Erin Hamlin claimed bronze four years ago in Sochi to become the first woman to medal.

David Gleirscher of Austria, who passed Mazdzer on his final run, took gold, and Johannes Ludwig of Germany took bronze.

Now he's flying, and becoming the first USA Luge men's singles slider to win an Olympic medal is now squarely within Mazdzer's reach.

The light in the cave is now blinding for Mazdzer who will be able to continue his 16-year love affair with luge, for all its frustrations. "I've had a rough last two years, and it just shows: Don't ever give up. Whenever you lose, keep fighting". "We've been competing internationally since we were 13, 14 years old", he said.

Mazdzer took advantage of Russian Roman Repilov faltering in Run 3 to move into second place, and maintained the momentum in the last run. He landed himself in fourth place after coming up short for third by one thousandth of a second, and he has two more runs on Sunday to decide it all. He conquered the infamous ninth curve easily to put himself into ideal position for a medal.

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But when BU plays in the championship game next week for Boston's college hockey bragging rights, Greenway will be in South Korea. It's certainly a small step forward compared to the late 1980's, and the often horrifying experience by pioneers like Val James.

On the fourth and final run, Loch did what he had never done before in the Olympic Games - he had a disastrous run.

"I did a mistake out of corner nine and that is one part of the track you are not allowed to do a mistake", Loch told reporters after the final. He shot out of the starting gate and barreled down the course, sliding flawlessly down the hill.

German Felix Loch has dominated the men's downhill luge at the Winter Olympics, and had won the Olympic gold on both of his previous attempts. Taylor Morris is in 23rd, just five spots behind fellow American West.

Two seasons of frustration had brought the Saranac Lake, New York resident to the brink of an abyss which he felt he would plunge into with a poor result at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

They stood higher than anyone else atop the men's luge podium on Sunday as the reign of Germany's Felix Loch as Olympic champion came to a slippery, stunning and sudden end.

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