USA Luge Mazdzer crashes in A...

Mazdzer crashes in Altenberg World Cup en route to the podium

Feb. 21, 2015, 12:01 p.m. (ET)

ALTENBERG, Germany – United States luge racer Chris Mazdzer, on the verge of another medal and taking over second place Saturday in the World Cup overall standings, crashed in the second and deciding heat on one of the tour’s most difficult tracks and did not finish the race.

The 26 year old American, with six World Cup medals thus far on the season, had been battling Italy’s Dominik Fischnaller for second place in the season-long rankings.

On an unusually mild Altenberg day, with the lunchtime temperature hovering around 40, the two-time Olympian from Saranac Lake, N.Y. stood sixth at the break.

Mazdzer left the start handles in the final leg faster than his opening run (he had top three start times in each heat), and then gathered more speed through the Omega turn, the twisting labyrinth, the 360 degree Kriesel curve and finally the long radius left turn to the finish.

At the second interval time, he was almost 0.1 of a second ahead of his first run pace. At the next timing point, he was nearly 0.2 quicker. And then came the crash that abruptly ended his day in this outpost along the border of eastern Germany and the Czech Republic.  

Mazdzer’s overall ranking is fifth with 497 points with one start remaining in the discipline.

“Sometimes things don't go as planned,” he tweeted. “You have it within your grasp and then the chair you’re standing on gives out. Get back up!”

The day ended with a German sweep of the medals on home ice, led by triple Olympic gold medalist Felix Loch, who locked up his fourth overall World Cup title, all consecutively. With 805 points, he cannot mathematically be caught.

The champion, who has six gold medals this winter, recorded two heats that totaled 1 minute, 48.193 seconds. He has won five times in a row on this track. Johannes Ludwig picked up the silver medal in 1:48.463, followed by Andi Langenhan. The bronze medal winner, 12th at the intermission, threw down the best second heat time and raised himself to third place in 1:48.475.

Langenhan has 539 World Cup points for second place, with Austrian Wolfgang Kindl, fourth Saturday, third overall with 521. Kindl won a World Championship bronze medal one week ago. Fischnaller slipped to 19th in the race and is fourth in the tour standings with 514 points.

Tucker West, of Ridgefield, Conn., 19, was 21st in 1:49.780. In less than a full season, the Lake Placid World Cup winner is sixth overall with 420 World Cup points.

The German doubles team of Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt, 2014 Olympic gold medalists, won for the fifth time in the last six starts. The defending World Cup overall champions have cut the margin on teammates Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken in the chase to the top.

Eggert and Benecken, second on Saturday, retain the tour lead with 925 points, accumulated by five victories and five silver medals in the 10 events to date. Wendl and Arlt have 885 points with two competitions left on the calendar.

The winners posted the two best runs of the morning, including an opening track record time of 41.567 that sent them on to a total clocking of 1:23.146. Eggert and Benecken were timed at 1:23.218, with three-time Olympic medal winners Andris and Juris Sics, of Latvia, third in 1:23.346. The Latvians are also third in the season standings.

Matt Mortensen of Huntington Station, N.Y. and Jayson Terdiman of Berwick, Pa continue the learning process in their first season as a team. They finished 11th in 1:24.048. They are eighth overall with 391 points.

The Altenberg race program ends Sunday with women’s singles underway at 4:03 AM ET, followed by the Sprint World Cup in all three disciplines. Only the top 15 in each weekend race qualify for the sprint.

There will be no Americans in the men’s division of Sunday’s Sprint World Cup as the event is only reserved for those who finish in the top 15 of the weekend competitions. Mortensen and Terdiman will race in the sprint’s one-heat format.

Full World Cup points are awarded in the sprint format, which lowers the start timer a full 330 feet below the handles and allows each sled the chance to accelerate fully before the clock begins.

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