Athlete Profile

Christopher Mazdzer

Career Highlights:5th in 2013 Lake Placid World Cup


Hometown:Pittsfield, MA

Resides:Saranac Lake, NY

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USA Luge News & NotesView All >
Saranac Soft Drinks USA Luge Slider Search headed to Utica, NY with Erin Hamlin | Jul 23, 2014
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - After making stops in Queens, N.Y., Frederick, Md., Westmont, Ill. and La Canada, Calif., the USA Luge Slider Search rolls into Erin Hamlin country looking for more future Olympic medalists. The national organization, based in Lake Placid, N.Y., will host recruitment clinics on Aug. 16-17 in the central New York city of Utica, in cooperation with city officials. The clinics will take place between Court and Columbia Streets. The Utica stop is made possible through the support of Saranac Soft Drinks. The tour, incorporating sleds on wheels, is the same series that discovered Hamlin in 1999 at the age of 12. The three-time Olympian, 2009 World Champion and Sochi bronze medalist will be on the coaching staff that weekend, sharing her knowledge and experiences with youngsters ages 10-13. “I'm excited that we are hosting another Slider Search in Utica,” said Hamlin, of nearby Remsen, N.Y. “It's the way I was introduced to the sport and with all the excitement around the Olympics in the area this year, I hope kids will come out and give it a try. Being relatively close to one of only two tracks in the United States makes it much easier to do the sport from this area. Hopefully people will take advantage of that. It's been great having so much support and encouragement from home. So to have the opportunity to get others involved is exciting. There's a lot of potential here.” Since the Slider Search was established in 1985, the sleds on wheels and portable ramp have traveled over 225,000 miles looking for youth that may one day climb the six-rung ladder to National Team status. From there, it’s on to the World Cup tour, the World Championships and ultimately, the Olympic Winter Games. In Utica athletes will be taught the basics of riding a luge sled, steering and stopping. Thereafter they will ride the sleds down a paved road, closed to traffic. A battery of fitness tests will conclude the sessions. In the fall, invitations will be extended to those youth who excelled in the clinics, and they will get an opportunity to try luge on ice this winter, at slower speeds, starting at the bottom of Lake Placid’s course at Mount Van Hoevenberg. They will be housed at the United States Olympic Committee’s Training Center, just a two minute walk from USA Luge headquarters in the two-time Olympic village. The top young athletes from the winter camps will be named to the 2015-2016 USA Luge Junior Development Team. Hamlin followed this path to the Olympic podium. Other USA Luge athletes have successfully marched to the Olympics via the Slider Search. They include Brian Martin, of Palo Alto, Calif., who went on to win Olympic silver and bronze medals. Eight of the USA’s 10 Olympians in 2010 were found in this manner, while seven of 10 on the Sochi Olympic Team got their starts in the annual search and on these wheeled sleds. The three hour clinics are held twice daily, free of charge. Each participant receives a souvenir tee shirt, courtesy of Pilot Chemical. Recommended attire is long pants and long-sleeved shirt (no baggy clothing). Mandatory helmets will be provided. The Slider Search is among the programs supported by the Citi Every Step of the Way® program which benefits the next generation of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls and athletes of all ages in communities across the country.  The program supports U.S. Olympic, Paralympic and Community Programs that inspired Team Citi athletes, including Hamlin, on their journeys from ambition to achievement.  To learn more about the program, visit . U.S. Luge athletes have captured over 600 international medals since 1994. Included in that total are silver and bronze medals during the 1998 and 2002 Winter Games, bronze in the Sochi Winter Games, 26 World Cup victories, four overall World Cup doubles crowns, 18 Junior World Championship titles and 12 World Championship medals. For more information and to register, please log on to , or call 1-800-USA-LUGE extension 105.
Lake Placid Wins Bid to Host 16 FIL Congress | Jun 26, 2014
USA Retains Key Positions Following Elections                                                                LAKE PLACID, N.Y. --- The world’s leaders in the sport of luge will gather in Lake Placid, N.Y., in June 2016, when the International Luge Federation (FIL) hosts its annual Congress in the two-time Olympic village. Officials from the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) and USA Luge secured the 64th Congress during the FIL’s recent Congress held in Innsbruck, Austria. “It will be great to have the FIL back in Lake Placid for their annual meeting. Lake Placid has a long and exciting tradition with luge and we are sure the attendees will thoroughly enjoy themselves while they are here,” remarked ORDA president/CEO Ted Blazer. With years 2016 and 2017 still available, ORDA and USA Luge officials made their bid to host the Congress in 2016. This comes just one year after the 2018 Olympic Winter Games host city Pyeonchang, South Korea stages the event. Thirty-eight nations attended this June’s FIL Congress. Typically, the race schedule for the next season is adopted, policies and procedures are approved and officers are elected to the Board. “The 2016 FIL Congress will be a great opportunity to showcase Lake Placid and the Adirondack region to the international luge community,” said USA Luge CEO Jim Leahy. “I want to personally thank the great folks at ORDA for making this exciting upcoming event possible, which will undoubtedly have a positive economic impact on our community.” During the just concluded congress, Svein Romstad, of Atlanta, Ga., was re-elected as the FIL Secretary General. Romstad has decades of sports management experience, with a wide ranging level of experience ranging from coaching the sport during the 1984 Olympic Games for the USA to serving as  a Senior Group Manager for Meridian Management, the marketing agency for the International Olympic Committee. He was first elected to the position in 1994 and has won each subsequent election.   Claire DelNegro, of Lynnfield, Mass., also retained her position as Vice President of Sport. DelNegro most recently served as interim CEO of USA Luge last summer. Prior to that, she was an 11-year employee of USA Luge in the late 1980's and 1990's. DelNegro has held a number of prominent positions since she first became involved with the world of Winter Olympic sports nearly 35 years ago. She is an also a 1984 Olympian in luge, competing for Great Britain under her maiden name, Sherred. This is DelNegro's 16th consecutive year serving as Vice President of Sport. Ed Moffat, President of the Canadian Luge Association, was elected to a member-at-large position, bolstering North America's presence at the FIL Executive Board. Moffat, of Calgary, Alberta, also served as the race director during the 2010 Olympic luge competitions. Other notable re-elections the 62nd FIL Congress included President and 1976 Olympic silver medalist Josef Fendt of Germany. Austria’s Harald Steyrer was also re-elected as Vice President of Finance. Russian three-time Olympic medalist Albert Demchenko also used the occasion to announce his retirement from the sport. The two-time European champion will serve as a coach for the Russian junior national team during the upcoming season. The world’s top luge athletes will be in Lake Placid this winter when the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex track plays host to World Cup racing Dec. 5-6. Athletes will compete in men and women’s singles, doubles and team relay.  
USA Luge leads organization of annual I Love BBQ & Music Festival fundraiser for youth center | Jun 10, 2014
LAKE PLACID, N.Y . – The aromas from the pit bosses will once again waft from the Olympic Speed Skating Oval in Lake Placid when the 9th Annual I Love BBQ and Music Festival, benefitting the Thomas Shipman Youth Center in Lake Placid, returns July 4-6. The festival venue is the site of Eric Heiden’s five 1980 Winter Olympic gold medals in speed skating. The center, just down the street from the skating oval, is a not-for-profit organization providing support and programs for youth 10-18 years of age. The facility was inspired by the late Thomas Shipman, a Lake Placid police officer who dedicated his life to the area’s youngsters. The I LOVE BBQ Junior World Championships will take place on Saturday, July 5, while Grand Champion and New York State Championship titles will be decided on Sunday, July 6. Paul Smiths College of the Adirondacks will offer $20,000 in scholarship money for the medal winners in the junior world championships. These events are sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS). Organizers of the I Love Barbecue and Music Festival are offering $9,000 in prize money, the most in the history of this event. The Grand Champion will take home $2,500. In addition, the junior world champions will receive $1,000 from the organizing committee, with a total of $4,000 distributed to the medal winners. Four-time and defending junior world champion Tiffany Londeen, of Eden Prairie, Minn., will bring her PepperQue team back to Lake Placid. She will be joined by several brothers. has ranked the I Love BBQ and Music Festival among its’ top 10 barbecue-themed events and festivals in the country. In addition, the KCBS has ranked the Lake Placid festival in its Top 20 nationwide . Team Diva Q, led by pit master Danielle Dimovski, is coming back for her third consecutive year to compete in Lake Placid. The 2011 Jack Daniels Barbecue World Champion (Best BBQ pork class) will try to win the Lake Placid Grand Championship.  USA Luge, the national governing body for the sport in the United States, helps support the organization of the annual event as a means of giving back to its home community. Daily admission is $6 for adults; children under 10 will be admitted free of charge. Festival patrons can sample the many barbecue delicacies during the weekend. There will be a pulled pork tasting event on July 4 from 1-3 PM for $3 per person. A $3 Rib Fest, where the general public can sample the best ribs in the East, will be offered on July 5 from 1-3 PM. It was formerly known as buck-a-rib, and is held in memory of former festival competitor Mike Grudzinskas. Milano North will sponsor the Top Chef competition on July 5, all day, beginning at 12 PM. This event, featuring local chefs and pit masters, will enable patrons to view a food demo, with tasting to follow. The Top Chef event is dedicated to the memory of former competitor and Lake Placid Grand Champion Nancee Gell. Live music, including appearances by Sven Curth, Lowell Bailey, The Michael Louis Band, Dan Saulpaugh, Pat Duffy, Spring Street, JT Cubbenah and other local acts will perform under the tent over the three days. Entertainment will also come in the form of the Krusher BMX Stunt Team, with its high-energy BMX bike and in-line skating exhibitions, all three days. There will be a kid’s bounce around area, face painting and coconut climbing trees as well. And for the third time in festival history, Dynomite, a mechanical bull, will appear in Lake Placid. In the previous eight years of the event, nearly $150,000 has been raised for the Thomas Shipman Youth Center through the I LOVE BBQ AND MUSIC FESTIVAL. For more information and a complete schedule of activities, please log on to Sponsors and supporters: Courtyard Marriott, Henry and Mildred Uihlein Foundation, Robert and Doreen Imbriani, Best Western Adirondack Inn, NBT Bank, Bernard and Karen Dayan, Saint-Gobain, ORDA, Taylor family, WSLP 93.3 FM, The UPS Store, USA Luge, Casella Waste Management, Cape Air, Cushman Production, Connecting Youth and Communities, Ward family, Kiwanis Club of Lake Placid, Lions club of Lake Placid, Rotary Club of Lake Placid, Lake Placid Central School District, Community Bank, Lake Placid News, Bear Essentials, High Peaks Dental, Coca-Cola, Saranac Beverages, Cornell University Uihlein Forest, Lake Placid Summit Hotel, Placid Productions, Price Chopper, US Olympic Training Center, McDonald’s of Lake Placid, Adirondack Bank, High Peaks Ford, Blue Moon Cafe, Lake Placid Family Dental, Coakley High Peaks Hardware, Lowe’s of Plattsburgh, Jon Wooten,, Guideboard Realty, Golden Arrow Lake Side Resort, Lisa G’s, Milano North, Lake Placid Center for the Arts, Meister Accounting, JDE Computer Staffing,  NEBS, Merrill Thomas Real Estate, Desperados, Hannaford, High Peaks Resort, Burnham Solutions, The White Face Lodge, Sarandev family, Wildwood on the Lake, Select Sotheby Real Estate, Tim Forman, Greg Peacock, Adirondac Rafting.   Special thanks to the Village of Lake Placid, Town of North Elba, Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department, Lake Placid Police Department, Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Service, Butch Martin and the North Elba Park District.
USA Luge ushers in a new era as board of directors meets | Jun 3, 2014
PARK CITY, Utah – Following a complete overhaul of its governance structure over the past year, the newly formed USA Luge board of directors met for the first time on May 31 at the Utah Olympic Park, site of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Following several meetings via telephone, it was the first in-person meeting for the group since being elected on March 29.   On May 30, Dwight Bell of Atlanta, Ga. (President of the Board), Jim Leahy of Philadelphia, Pa and Lake Placid, N.Y. (USA Luge CEO) and Dr. Gerard Tate of New Hope, Pa., previous chair of the board’s nominating committee, met with various business leaders from Park City.  The three- some met with Colin Hilton, President/CEO Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, Bill Malone, President/CEO of the Park City Chamber of Commerce and Jeff Robbins, President/CEO of the Utah Sports Commission based in Salt Lake City.   On the evening of May 30, the Utah Sports Commission hosted a reception for the new board at the Utah Olympic Park.  In attendance were various local political, business and cultural leaders.  Members of the Wasatch Luge club were also present.  Five-time Olympic gold medal winner in speedskating, Dr. Eric Heiden of Park City, represented the local medical community.   On Saturday morning the board convened at 9:00AM. Bell opened with remarks re-affirming the mission and goals of USA Luge, while Dr. Tate proceeded with a discussion of the duties and responsibilities of the board members.   Leahy, along with board member and two-time luge Olympian Erin Warren of Somerville, Mass., gave the board a complete financial report, including a preliminary draft for the 2014-2015 season’s budget.  Warren serves as the board’s treasurer. Leahy also shared the latest allocation of funds coming from the United States Olympic Committee.   Reports were given by members of the USA Luge staff. Two-time Olympic medalist and USA Luge sports program director Mark Grimmette (Lake Placid, N.Y.) presented an update regarding the team’s preparations for the 2014-2015 season and the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Jon Owen of Park City, Utah, a 1988 Olympian and USA Luge technical programs manager, presented the latest developments in terms of sled technology. Finally, 1998 Olympic silver medalist and marketing director Gordy Sheer (Lake Placid, N.Y.) briefed the group on the status of USA Luge’s sponsorship portfolio and outreach programs. A discussion ensued, with new independent directors Adam Berlew (San Francisco, Calif.), Vice President of Global Programs and Americas Marketing for the Silicon Valley based, Equinix, and Mary Ann Deignan (New York, N.Y.), the head of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Equity Capital Markets and USA Luge board secretary, offered valued input regarding the organization’s future marketing strategies. Paul Baribault, former national team racer and Vice President of Marketing for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures also offered wisdom and guidance throughout the meeting.   Athlete representatives Chris Mazdzer (Saranac Lake, N.Y.), a two-time Olympian and 2010 Olympian from Augusta, Maine Julia Clukey, made presentations, supported by Grimmette’s doubles teammate Brian Martin (Palo Alto, Calif,, U.S. Olympic Committee Athletes Advisory Council member). The trio reviewed the 2013-14 season and expressed their hopes for the 2014-15 World Cup and World Championship season.   Former national team racer Jeff Stratton of New York, N.Y. and longtime race official Pete Gillwald of Park City, Utah finished up the day’s meeting with an update from the Adirondack, Wasatch, Marquette and Negaunee Luge Clubs. Dwight Bell adjourned the meeting at 6:00 p.m., followed by a dinner hosted by the Wasatch Luge Club in the historic section of Park City. The meeting re-affirmed the organization’s desire to elevate the sport of luge in the United States, with a focus on high performance at all levels of competition. The next meeting will take place in late summer in Lake Placid as a part of the first-ever USA Luge Assembly, open to the general membership.    
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