American within striking distance of luge medal

American within striking distance of luge medal

American within striking distance of luge medal

Mazdzer then unleashed a third-round run of 47.534, the finest time of the entire competition to date, that vaulted him into second place, just behind Felix Loch's 2:22.259. He slid flawlessly, extending his lead. Gleirscher won Austria's first gold medal at the luge in fifty years, while Mazdzer took the silver medal. He hasn't made a podium since and his best finish during the most recent World Cup season was sixth.

And that wasn't the only upset at Olympic Sliding Centre.

His father Norbert, a former Olympic luger and current head of the German team, clapped his hands and almost head-butted the ceiling with a jump for joy. He completed the four runs with a cumulative time of 3 minutes, 10.702 seconds, edging out Mazdzer by 0.026.

Felix Loch made a critical error late in his final run Sunday to surrender his Olympic luge title and make schnapps-drinking David Gleirscher the first Austrian men's victor in the event in 50 years.

Mazdzer's camp, consisting of parents, two sisters, his girlfriend and two buddies, duly went ballistic at the finish-line terrace.

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Mazdzer, a 29-year-old native of Lake Placid, N.Y., was a surprise contender after the first two runs of competition, held here Saturday, entering the final rounds in fourth, one-tenth of a second out of third. The American and the Austrian stood side by side as Loch made his mistake and it was bear-hugs all round when their medals were confirmed.

"It's 16 years in the making", Mazdzer told NBC's Lewis Johnson after winning silver.

Mazdzer was thrilled with his silver, having been nearly at "rock bottom" with his form only weeks before.

"It's just magic. I can't describe this, it's just unbelievable".

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