PYEONGCHANG – At a Winter Olympics as cold as the Night King’s heart, it figures the hottest breakout star in the Popsicle Games is a luger, baby.
Twenty-four hours ago, no American unrelated to Chris Mazdzer knew his name. After he won a silver medal on a runaway sled, however, “Saturday Night Live” comedian Leslie Jones wants to bear Mazdzer’s children.
“Why don’t you luge on over here to my place,” Jones cooed, after Mazdzer became the first U.S. man to reach the podium in a sport that appears unsafe at any speed.
And doesn’t that pretty much sum up the beauty of the Winter Olympics?
Mazdzer went from just another face in the crowd to a sex symbol at 80 mph. He did it faster than a major kitchen appliance can bounce out a delivery truck and slide out-of-control, down an ice-slicked driveway. That’s a pretty accurate technical description of luge, for those of you unfamiliar with the sport.
“I think normal people call me crazy,” said Mazdzer, who describes what he does as being the pilot of “the most bad-ass Flexible Flyer you can imagine.” Now that makes sense. What little most Americans know about sledding we learned from Clark Griswold. Bingo.
At a Games where everyone is complaining about wind chill so intense that athletes are taping up their faces to stay warm, uncommonly cold surface conditions on the luge track played a major role in Mazdzer’s spectacular upset.
The colder and harder the ice, the less control there is for sled’s thin blades. Is that scary, even for world-class lugers? Heck, yeah. But Mazdzer, who trains at Lake Placid, N.Y., is used to these don’t-stick-your-tongue-on-the-flagpole weather.
“The really cold conditions here, with luge that’s the great equalizer,” said Mazdzer, who had been in a slump so bad for two years that a Russian competitor recently offered to let him borrow a sled to see if that might help go faster.
“When the ice is that hard, when it’s basically marble, that’s when it comes down to experience. I really was out of control all four runs, but I held on … I look back at all those below-zero mornings (in upstate New York), where I did not want to train at 8 in the morning, and that was a big part of it.”
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Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News