Two months ago to the day, Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer announced that he was joining Jayson Terdiman in doubles luge. The pair raced together as juniors, but it had been a decade. The top five, they thought, was a good goal.
They reached that goal in their fourth world cup race together last weekend.
Then in the Lake Placid World Cup, they exceeded their goal. In the sprint race, Mazdzer and Terdiman won the silver medal, finishing the one-run race in 37.669, only 0.198 behind yesterday’s winners Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken from Germany. Tristan Walker and Justin Snith from Canada won the bronze medal in 37.701.
“There’s only one spot to go from here, man,” joked Terdiman.
Sprint race timing starts several yards below the start and rewards good sliders who, in traditional two-run luge races, have slower starts. It’s not an Olympic discipline. But it showed Mazdzer and Terdiman, who currently have a slow start, that they are in fact sliding well.
“We take the start out, we’re right there,” said Mazdzer. “So we’ll figure out our start, and we’ll be competing with the best.”
It capped a solid weekend of racing on their home track. In yesterday’s two-run doubles race, they finished sixth — what Mazdzer termed a minor setback in their progression this season after finishing fifth the previous weekend. But Terdiman was optimistic.
This is the second time Mazdzer and Terdiman have won a silver medal in doubles on the Lake Placid track. The 2008 junior world championships were held here, and the duo took silver in that race. It was their last doubles race before Mazdzer switched to singles, and Toni Eggert beat them in that race as well.
“He also has 10 more years of practice than we do, so I guess it makes sense,” conceded Mazdzer.
The result lifted Mazdzer and Terdiman to a tie for fifth overall in the world cup standings, just 10 points behind the Sics brothers, three-time Olympic medalists from Latvia.
Although Mazdzer and Terdiman have slid together as seniors for the last two months, they have only raced together for a month. FIL World Cup racing began in mid-November.
“This is kind of a whirlwind, four weeks in,” said Terdiman. “I never dreamed it could go this well.”
The pair can now rest for two weeks before the world cup tour resumes in Europe. The two men will head to their respective homes for the Holidays, and Terdiman celebrates his 30th birthday on December 21.
“Ending my twenties on a bang,” he joked. “This is great.”
A freelance writer based in Vermont, Peggy Shinn has covered five Olympic Games. She has contributed to TeamUSA.org since its inception in 2008.