On the third day of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, an American athlete competed for his country and made history.
According to Yahoo! Sports, an American luge racer has never earned a medal… until today, thanks to 29-year-old three-time Olympian Chris Mazdzer.
I’m still processing what happened last night. It honestly doesn’t even feel real yet! All I know is that I have an amazing group of people in my life that stick with me even when times are tough and sharing this high with them is one of the best ways I … https://t.co/yK3KtOq0Fw pic.twitter.com/Zb0RSoaXK4
— Chris Mazdzer (@mazdzer) February 11, 2018
In both the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and 2014 Sochi Olympics, Mazdzer placed 13th, quite different from the second place finish he had on Sunday night in South Korea.
Mazdzer told ESPN:
“I knew I was out of control, I was pushing the limits all four runs. That final trip down was a lot of fun actually. It’s weird. This is probably the race that I was least nervous for. I just felt really good about this track, all through training. Going into this last run, even though there’s snow in the track, the ice is really hard, I knew I could do it.”
This has been a long time coming, not only for the United States but for Mazdzer himself— he’s been competing since he was 13 years old.
I just squeezed through day one of the Olympics and am sitting in 4th place only .001 out of third. Time to rest up and get right back at it tomorrow!!! #teamusa #pyeongchang2018 #itsforamerica #luge #letsdothis https://t.co/3xSqXqC11S pic.twitter.com/R6mmhocbIi
— Chris Mazdzer (@mazdzer) February 10, 2018
Following his silver medal finish, during an interview with ESPN, Mazdzer took time to thank the people who helped him get to where he is today:
“I can’t say thank you enough to all these people that let me lay in their sleds, that let me try to do different things that brought me to this point.”
Mazdzer’s journey shows that persistence is key.
He told NPR: “I’ve had a rough last two years, and it just shows: Don’t ever give up. Whenever you lose, keep fighting.”