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Murray Journal

Murray man competes in fourth winter Olympics

Feb 22, 2022 09:43PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

U.S. Olympic luger Chris Mazdzer. (Photograph by Sandro Halank, Wikimedia Commons)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

American luger and Murray resident Chris Mazdzer finished up his fourth Olympics in Beijing trying to secure a second medal. While he didn’t end up on the medals stand, he still made a strong showing coming in 10th overall in the men’s singles luge and seventh in the luge team relay.

“I definitely pushed my limits tonight and I think that showed when I was sideways out of curve 13 and wasn’t cutting any ice. I honestly had such an amazing night warming up with friends from all over the world and competing knowing that my friends and family were cheering me on in the middle of the night from the other side of the globe. It’s been an amazing adventure…,” Mazdzer posted on Facebook.

Mazdzer at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics became the first U.S. and currently only non-European to win a medal in men's singles luge.

“I honestly haven’t felt this good on the sled in a long time and was having great runs and so much fun before that mistake. So I’m going into my fourth Olympics doing exactly what I love to do, giving 100% and no matter what happens I know that I have the best support group behind me no matter what! That’s what allows me to go for it even when I’m not feeling my best. That is what allows me to feel like that kid again to just go out there and show the world what I’m capable of,” Mazdzer said.

His efforts on the track exceeded his first two Olympics at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics where he finished 13th in both competitions. This year he battled injuries in his bid to make his fourth Olympic roster.

“When I cut out the timing, pressure and expectations of sport and can just focus on what I love to do it’s the feeling of being a kid again. I feel like that kid again. This year has been hard, really hard. As per this year, I had a really tough crash on my last training run and am skipping opening ceremonies…,” Mazdzer said.

Prior to the World Cup tour last year, Mazdzer’s right foot was fractured on a Russian luge track. Although injured, he was able to compete later in the tour and took silver in the luge team relay. However, a month before the games, Mazdzer and his doubles luge partner crashed. While he did not get the chance to race in doubles in Beijing, USA Luge still invited him to race in the single competition.

“I have to say that I am so proud of this entire crew. Everyone in this picture has worked their butt off to get here. I know that when TeamUSA gets to the bottom of the track we will have the loudest and most passionate support group cheering us on,” Mazdzer said.

However, Beijing may not be his last Olympics. Whether he decides to try for a fifth Olympics or, he is also on board with Utah’s potential Olympic bid to host a second winter Olympics. He was named to the bid committee’s strategic board.

Not only does Mazdzer compete on the luge track, but he tried his hand at ballroom dancing. He appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” paired with fellow Utahn Witney Carson, placing fourth in the competition.

One of the drawbacks of competing in the Olympics during a pandemic is that families of the athletes have not been able to travel to the games. As Mazdzer and his wife Mara are the parents of a one-year-old, television crews have been at their Murray home in the early morning hours as he races showing them cheering him on. 

Mara Mazdzer posted on Facebook, “Chris mentions a pep talk I gave him four years ago in Korea a lot, it was a really impactful interaction for him. In the moment I wasn’t trying to think of the perfect thing to say, I was just being honest. I love Chris and I’m so proud of him regardless of his competition results. Four years later, as his wife, all that’s changed is that he’s even bigger and even more incredible in my eyes…. I know I’m so incredibly proud of his hard work and in awe of how he manages to power through challenges.”