Zachary DiGregorio and Sean Hollander react after sliding during the final luge doubles run during the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 9, 2022 in Yanqing, China.
Just a year after they teamed up for the first time, Zack DiGregorio and Sean Hollander of the U.S. served notice Wednesday that they could be forces to contend with in the years to come.
In their Winter Olympic Games debuts, DiGregorio and Hollander placed 11th in the doubles luge competition at the National Sliding Centre northwest of Beijing. They finished 1.961 seconds behind the German duo of Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt, who won their third straight gold medal with a combined time of 1 minute, 56.554 seconds over their two runs.
“It was amazing,” DiGregorio, a native of Medway, Massachusetts, told the Associated Press. “So much in luge is a team thing, but tonight was about us. We were the only doubles team for the U.S., and it was really just a moment for me and Sean where we could slide and have as much fun as we could.”
Another powerhouse German team, Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken, took the silver medal, just .099 seconds off the pace set by Wendl and Arlt. The Austrian pair of Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller won the bronze medal.
Hollander and DiGregorio have the potential carry this momentum for many years to come. Hollander is two days short of his 22nd birthday and DiGregorio is only 20 years old. Together, they were the youngest team in the Olympic field.
“We’re just going to build from here,” Hollander, who hails from Lake Placid, New York, told the AP. “This is great momentum going forward. We finally have a sled that we feel comfortable on and can go fast, so we're just going to take this energy that we have now into next season.”
When the top U.S. team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman failed to qualify for Beijing, DiGregorio’s and Hollander’s Olympic dreams became reality. They made most of it Wednesday, using a sled that Terdiman let them borrow.
DiGregorio and Hollander will compete in Thursday’s team relay with Mazdzer (who qualified for the Games as a singles slider) and Ashley Farquharson.
Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Olympic Games Beijing 2022? Visit TeamUSA.org/Beijing-2022-Olympic-Games to view the competition schedule, medal table and results.