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

12 February 2018

Gleirscher won Austria's first gold medal at the luge in fifty years, while Mazdzer took the silver medal.

American Chris Mazdzer earned a silver medal in men's singles luge today (Feb. 11) at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, finishing just.026 seconds behind the victor, David Gleirscher of Austria.

There aren't many Olympic events that the United States hasn't medaled in.

Thirteen was a very lucky number for Chris Mazdzer of the US on the opening weekend of the 2018 Olympic Games. Austrian David Gleirscher only just made it onto the Austrian Olympic team, and had never won a medal at a World Cup event before, his best-ever finish never higher than fourth.

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As an 18-year-old, West had finished 22nd in the luge men's singles at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. It was on his third run that Mazdzer really clinched his medal. He completed the four runs with a cumulative time of 3 minutes, 10.702 seconds, edging out Mazdzer by 0.026.

NPR's Melissa Block reports he leaped from his sled after that final run, vaulting "into the stands to hug his family and grab an American flag".

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

Erin Hamlin became the first American to medal in women's luge when she took home the bronze at the Sochi Olympics in 2014.

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The leader going into the final run was two-time defending gold medalist Felix Loch of Germany, who was looking to equal the record of his countryman, George Hackl, who finished first in 1992, '94 and '98.

On Sunday, he'll try to win a historic medal for Team U.S.A using the same technique that has proven effective for him so far.

He was headed for a third straight gold medal entering his fourth and final run in the men's singles luge after scores that ranked him second, first, and second (respectively) on his first three runs.

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