2018 Olympic Silver Medalist Chris Mazdzer announces retirement
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. —Four-time Olympian and 2018 Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer today announced his retirement from competitive luge. Following an esteemed 22-year career of competing internationally in the sport, Mazdzer has decided the EBERSPAECHER Luge World Cup taking place in Lake Placid on December 8-9 will be his last.
Mazdzer, who grew up in Saranac Lake, N.Y., and now resides in Salt Lake City, Utah, rose to international prominence following the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, where he became the first U.S. men’s singles luge athlete to earn an Olympic medal, which also cemented him as the only non-European to win a medal in the event.
Over his career, he was a seven-time national champion, collected 24 World Cup medals, one World Championship, an Olympic silver medal, and finished third overall in the 2015-16 World Cup standings. In addition to singles racing, he teamed up with two-time Olympian Jayson Terdiman in 2019 to compete in men’s doubles. Mazdzer and Terdiman helped the U.S. team win a bronze medal at the 2020 World Championships.
Mazdzer is one of the select few athletes to have won a World Cup medal in both singles and doubles.
Off the ice, he served his fellow teammates and competitors as an athlete representative at all levels within the sport. He helped establish the Athlete Commission at the Federation of International Luge (FIL) and was the first athlete representative voted by his peers to sit on the FIL board of directors, where he served two consecutive four-year terms. Mazdzer currently serves on the USA Luge board of directors and is the primary representative to the Team USA Athlete Commission.
“Chris began sliding with USA Luge when he was eight years old and over the years his commitment to the sport has been unwavering,” said Jim Leahy, CEO, USA Luge. “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.”
Of 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.
“A few weeks ago, as I made the decision that Lake Placid would be my last World Cup, I felt mixed emotions. It's hard not to feel a little bit of sadness bidding farewell to a sport that I love so dearly. From the exhilarating feeling of being out of control at 90 MPH, to the incredible friendships and camaraderie forged while traversing the globe, luge has changed me for the better. But I am so excited to be raising a family and the doors that will open after I close the door on this incredible chapter in my life.
“First and foremost, I owe a massive thank you to the real MVPs – my friends and family. While luge may be an individual sport, there's no denying that your unwavering love and support have been a huge part of my success. Thank you for traveling the globe to cheer me on in my quest to be the world's best sledder.
“To my fellow lugers, coaches, and teammates, what a ride it's been! From the rollercoaster of laughs and late nights spent in windowless sled rooms, to the highs, lows, and everything in between, you've been my second family for the past two decades. I'll miss the camaraderie and the countless moments that cameras couldn't capture but will forever be etched in our memories.
“As I bid farewell, I carry with me a treasure trove of memories and moments with all of you that I'll cherish forever. Reflecting on my career, I hope I achieved my two goals: leaving the sport better than I found it and increasing awareness of luge in the United States. While I can't objectively answer those questions, I feel a sense of accomplishment in these endeavors.
“Looking ahead, I am genuinely excited for the future of USA Luge. There are phenomenal athletes on the horizon, and I can't wait to watch them this season and in the seasons to come. The momentum behind the scenes is exciting, and while it's going to be challenging not to be directly involved, I am eager to witness the continued success and growth of the sport.
“Again, thank you to my family, friends, teammates, sponsors, coaches, USA Luge staff, Athletic Trainers, training partners, competitors, fans, and so much more for being part of this incredible journey. Here's to the next thrilling chapter!”