PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Chris Mazdzer made history for the United States on Sunday night, becoming the first man ever to win a medal in a luge singles competition.
With a final time of 3:10.728, Mazdzer won silver thanks to a strong closing run over the last two rounds. He finished just .026 behind gold medalist David Gleirscher from Austria. Germany’s Johannes Ludwig rounded out the podium with a time of 3:10.932.
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 Russia, but it would have been enough to keep him off the medal stand.
Mazdzer then unleashed a third-round run of 47.534, the finest time of the entire competition to date, that vaulted him into second place, just behind Felix Loch’s 2:22.259. Mazdzer bounced the sled in exultation after his finish, knowing he’d finished a pristine run.
That left only the final run, and Mazdzer did exactly what he needed to do to snare the historic medal for the United States. He kept on Gleirscher’s pace until the final instants, but even then knew he’d done enough to stay on the podium. As crowds of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” echoed from the rowdy, delirious crowd, Mazdzer broke protocol by leaping over the fences that separated him from his fans and took a moment to slap some hands and hug some necks.
Far more heartbreaking was Loch; he hopped just the tiniest bit on his final run, enough to drop him into fifth. He glided into the finish zone on his sled, not moving, and others came to comfort him. Just before he left the area, he shook hands with each of the medalists, then left them to their celebrations.
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