Pittsfield native Chris Mazdzer wins Silver in South Korea

First American to win silver in men's luge singles

Olympics: Luge

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (WWLP) – Chris Mazdzer, who was born in Pittsfield, won a silver medal in the men’s luge singles at the Winter Olympics, becoming the first American man to ever earn a medal in the event.

VIEW PROFILE: Chris Mazdzer

It was 54 years in the making, in a sport that is won or lost in one hundredths of seconds. The men’s luge premiered at the 1964 Winter Olympics, and it has been dominated by the Europeans ever since. Until Sunday, when Mazdzer went faster than he ever has before, winning the silver medal.

He talked about it on Today Show this morning.

“It was strange…like looking back on the video I’m smiling before my fourth run because somehow I just knew I had it,” Mazdzer said. “It was a sensation that I never had before but I was calm…I was happy. I was in my happy place like the entire time. Nerves never really got to me. It was exciting to compete and go down this track. Everything was working.”

Mazdzer was 13th in his Olympic debut in 2010, and 13th again at the Sochi Games four years ago. Felix Loch of Germany, who had won two Olympic titles in a row in the event, faltered in his final run.

Erin Hamlin, the flag-bearer at the Opening Ceremony for this year’s Olympics, won the first ever medal ― a bronze ― by an American woman in the luge singles in the 2014 Games in Sochi.

Click here to view the photo gallery on the WWLP APP