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

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

Although Ridgefield native Tucker West saw his struggles continue on the second day of the luge men's singles competition at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, he and the rest of the USA Luge program did have cause to celebrate.

Mazdzer finished 0.026 seconds behind David Gleirscher of Austria and 0.204 ahead of Johannes Ludwig of Germany.

Halfway through the four-round event, Mazdzer was in fourth place, with a total time of 1:35.517 - just one one-thousandth of a second behind Roman Repilov, Olympic Athlete from Russian Federation, but it would have been enough to keep him off the medal stand. The U.S. had won five medals in luge since the sport was introduced to the Games in 1964, but none in men's singles. But it was only with his second and third runs - which he finished second and first, respectively - that Mazdzer climbed the leader board.

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Competing in his third Olympics, Mazdzer, 29, followed up two impressive runs on Saturday with an even better performance on Sunday.

Mazdzer was thrilled with his silver, having been nearly at "rock bottom" with his form only weeks before. West attended high school at Lake Placid's former National Sports Academy, and since USA Luge is based in Lake Placid, all US lugers live there while training. "We had a huge contingent here from the USA and the best part about them is they're here for you no matter what", said Mazdzer. Mazdzer finished both the 2010 Vancouver Games and the 2014 Sochi Games in 13th place.

In fact, there's been nine occasions where the gold-silver-bronze order at the midway mark of the Olympic competition stayed exactly that way in the final standings. "It's getting colder", Mazdzer said. For the Olympics, you've just got to go for it. ...

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"It was like a home track for me".

Mazdzer, a perennial World Cup contender, was 18th in the standings this season.

"I think I cashed in all my friendships from all the other countries", he joked. And yeah, I'm incredibly happy with where I am right now.

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Chris Mazdzer of United States smiles in the finish area after his second run in the men's luge at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018.

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