Two Sprint Silver Medals in Lake Placid

By Sandy Caligiore | Dec. 16, 2018, 6:13 p.m. (ET)

Silver medals in BMW Sprint World Cup luge for Mazdzer-Terdiman and Britcher


LAKE PLACID, N.Y. –
USA Luge scored a pair of silver medals Sunday in BMW World Cup sprint races as Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman landed on the doubles podium in just the fourth weekend of their comeback after 10 years apart. Later in the afternoon, teammate Summer Britcher duplicated the result in the women’s sprint event.

Mazdzer, the 2018 Olympic silver medalist, and Terdiman, a two-time Olympian, took a silver medal on this same course at the 2008 Junior World Championships. They rejoined as a doubles team two months ago and have been on a rapid rise to the top three over the first month of the World Cup campaign.

In addition, Mazdzer, on double duty racing both disciplines, finished sixth in the men’s sprint race. He was fourth in singles and sixth in doubles, both on Saturday. The 30-year-old is the only athlete to tally four top six results on the same World Cup weekend.

Britcher’s silver medal removed the disappointment of the earlier singles race that saw her drop from fourth to fifth place in the last run.

Teammate Emily Sweeney, a 2018 Olympian, missed the podium in both races by only 0.01 of a second as she was fourth in both.

Brittney Arndt, in her first season on the World Cup tour, had a breakthrough day on home ice. The 20-year-old was seventh after the first leg, but turned up the heat with the third best final run, right behind two Germans, to improve to sixth place. Later, she was fifth in the sprint.

Tucker West, another two-time Olympian, was 10th in his two weekend events.

Raychel Germaine was 17th in singles and did not qualify for the sprint competition, which is reserved for the top 15 of the discipline race.

Germany spent a week training in Lake Placid last month. It paid off as their women swept the singles podium and took gold and bronze in the sprint. They also medaled in sprint men and doubles.

 

WOMEN

USA Luge put itself in position for a memorable day after one heat of the singles race. Sweeney was third behind Germany’s Dajana Eitberger and Natalie Geisenberger, with Britcher fourth and Arndt seventh.

But Sweeney, of Suffield, Conn., scraped the wall as she started her second attempt. The error was tell-tale and robbed the 25-year-old of her second medal of the season. Nevertheless, placing fourth continues a remarkable return to action after last February’s horrific crash in Pyeongchang.

Britcher, the two-time Olympian from Glen Rock, Pa., had solid starts, but bled fractions in the deciding leg down Mount Van Hoevenberg’s technical, serpentine track and settled for fifth.

As for Arndt, the Park City, Utah resident gave up time at the start of both legs, but showed her driving skills and caught up quickly down the 16-turn women’s layout. She was only 0.13 of a second from the podium in singles and merely 0.01 from the bronze medal in the sprint race.

“I felt really great on the sled today,” said Arndt. “I was really comfortable. I kind of just let it run, let it do what it had to do. I had really good runs.”

Eitberger had the two best heats of the morning on her way to a victorious time of 1 minute, 27.674 seconds. Other than a bronze medal in the Igls sprint race last month, Eitberger, the 2018 Olympic silver medalist, had offered only lackluster results. The low point was in Calgary last weekend when she crashed and snapped a sled runner, finishing near the bottom of the field.

But fast forward to Lake Placid and Sunday’s opening leg that saw her break Britcher’s track record as the German posted 43.789 seconds.

Geisenberger, the 2014 and 2018 Olympic champion, was second in two consecutive singles events but rebounded later to collect a sprint gold medal. She clocked 1:27.705 for the singles silver.

 

SPRINT

After Saturday’s doubles race, Terdiman, of Berwick, Pa., remarked that anyone in the top six can win a medal. He and Mazdzer just happened to finish sixth in that race; on Sunday, Terdiman proved prescient as the lone U.S. doubles team took the sprint silver medal.

The sprint features the flying start, where athletes begin from their normal start height, but the timing doesn’t begin for about 100 meters.

“You take the start out, we are right there,” stated Mazdzer, of nearby Saranac Lake, N.Y. “We’ll figure out our start and we’ll be competing with the best. We’re still progressing. We’ll keep riding this wave.”

“This is kind of a whirlwind,” added Terdiman, who turns 30 on Friday. “It’s so quick. Four weeks in. I could never dream it to go this well…..We’ll get right back to it in Koenigssee.”

The German doubles sled of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken can’t recall when they didn’t win in Lake Placid. Eggert even won the junior world title (with a different partner) ahead of Mazdzer and Terdiman 10 years ago. Their weekend sweep now makes it seven consecutive victories at the Olympic Sports Complex. Their sprint gold medal time was nearly 0.2 ahead of Mazdzer and Terdiman. Canadians Tristan Walker and Justin Snith picked up third place.

Eggert and Benecken have three wins and two silver medals in six starts to lead the circuit with 525 points. Austria’s Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller opened the year with two wins and are second with 446 points. Mazdzer and Terdiman are tied for fifth place with 311 World Cup points.

Britcher made amends for the lost opportunity earlier the day with her sprint silver behind Geisenberger and ahead of Taubitz. Britcher was 0.07 from the winner. The result brought her to third place in the season-long rankings, matching her final standing last season.

 “It’s feels fantastic. It’s not the race I wanted this morning,” said Britcher. “I kind of regrouped and I said, ‘This is my home track. I’ve had a million runs here.’ It’s very rare to have a chance to slide when it’s like this. It’s built perfectly. Then the weather comes together. This is why I do the sport, to slide on ice like this. It’s the most fun. I told myself I was just going to go out there and enjoy my last chance until the next World Cup to slide on ice like this here, and it comes together.”

Geisenberger continues to lead the World Cup with 570 overall points.

Julia Taubitz, a first-time World Cup winner last week, took third place in 1:27.929. She’s second overall with 495. Britcher is up to third place with 330 after her first top three of the winter.

Sweeney, of Suffield, Conn., maintained her effervescence despite the agonizingly close time difference. These first few events of the season have given her a new perspective on her sliding ability.

“When I come to races now, I don’t think I need to do anything different,” she analyzed. “I don’t need to do anything special to try to make it on to that podium. I just need to perform the way I can perform, whereas before I wasn’t confident at that, and was kind of pushing it that extra bit, and I don’t need that extra bit. Today I made a mistake at the start of my second run and that’s what bumped me back from the podium, but that was me. I don’t need anything special. I’m good, as weird and as simple as that sounds.”

Arndt continued the momentum from the singles race to improve to fifth place in the sprint.

“I was really relaxed. I wasn’t over-nervous or anything. I just felt really comfortable,” she remarked. Arndt collected 105 World Cup points in the two races and now sits in 12th place overall.

Roman Repilov of Russia completed the weekend sweep with his win in Sunday’s men’s sprint race.

Repilov won the singles on Saturday, then put down a run time of 32.554 seconds to defeat teammate and 2015 World Champion Semen Pavlichenko. Germany’s Johannes Ludwig, the Pyeongchang Olympic bronze medal winner, took third place, 0.11 from the winner.

Ludwig has overtaken Austrian Wolfgang Kindl for the World Cup lead after six of 12 races. Kindl was disqualified in Saturday’s singles race for an overweight sled, thus eliminating him from the sprint. The defending World Champion is second on the season.

Mazdzer’s sixth place time of 32.813 brought him to 11th place on the World Cup list. West, of Ridgefield, Conn., is 15th in World Cup points. Jonny Gustafson, of Massena, N.Y., wound up outside the top 15 in singles, sidelining him on Sunday. Gustafson is 16th in the World Cup.

The Viessmann World Cup tour now takes its holiday break, before resuming on January 5-6 in Koenigssee, Germany to end the 12 days of Christmas.

RESULTS AND STANDINGS