Sports

Olympic Luge silver medalist Chris Mazdzer announces retirement

SALT LAKE CITY — Hailing from Saranac Lake, N.Y., and currently residing in Salt Lake City, Utah, Chris Mazdzer gained global recognition following his silver medal luge win at the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang. Mazdzer announced on Monday his retirement from luge after a 22-year long career; the EBERSPAECHER Luge World Cup taking place in Lake Placid on December 8-9 will be his last.

His achievement as the first U.S. men’s singles luge athlete to secure an Olympic medal not only marked a significant milestone but also positioned him as the sole non-European to clinch a medal in this event.

Throughout his career, Mazdzer clinched seven national championships, amassed 24 World Cup medals, claimed a World Championship title, secured an Olympic silver medal, and finished third overall in the 2015-16 World Cup standings. His versatility extended beyond singles racing as he partnered with two-time Olympian Jayson Terdiman in 2019 for men’s double, resulting in a bronze medal for the U.S. team at the 2020 World Championships.

Mazdzer stands among the exclusive group of athletes who have achieved World Cup medals in both singles and doubles luge disciplines.

He served as an athlete representative across all levels within the sport, aiding in establishing the Athlete Commission at the Federation of International Luge (FIL). His peers elected him as the inaugural athlete representative to sit on the FIL board of directors, where he completed two consecutive four-year terms.

Presently, Mazdzer continues to serve on the USA Luge board of directors and holds a pivotal role as the primary representative to the Team USA Athlete Commission.

Jim Leahy, CEO of USA Luge, expressed gratitude for Mazdzer’s enduring dedication in a statement, “Chris began sliding with USA Luge when he was eight years old, and over the years his commitment to the sport has been unwavering. Following the 2018 Games, Chris’ success helped raise awareness of the sport across the country. While we will miss Chris as a dedicated athlete, we are grateful for his many successful years and wish him all the best in his next endeavor.”

In a reflective statement about his retirement, Mazdzer said, “After 25 incredible years of hurtling myself down icy chutes in a spandex suit, I realize that every adrenaline-packed career eventually comes to an end. As I hang up my sled and look back at my luge journey, it’s clear that this sport has been the greatest teacher in my life, shaping me in ways I never thought possible.”

Mazdzer expressed a mix of emotions regarding his decision, acknowledging the bittersweet feeling of bidding farewell to a beloved sport.

“As I bid farewell, I carry with me a treasure trove of memories and moments with all of you that I’ll cherish forever,” Mazdzer said. Reflecting on his accomplishments, he expressed hope in leaving the sport in a better state than he found it and increasing awareness of luge in the United States.

Looking ahead, Mazdzer voiced genuine excitement for the future of USA Luge, acknowledging the promising talent rising in the ranks and expressing eagerness to witness the sport’s continued success and growth.

Mazdzer extended heartfelt appreciation to everyone who contributed to his extraordinary journey, concluding with an optimistic outlook: “Here’s to the next thrilling chapter!”

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