Chris Mazdzer is competing on the current season of Dancing With The Stars, stepping onto the dance floor with pro Witney Carson. This past February, Mazdzer became an Olympic silver medalist in PyeongChang, South Korea, finishing in second place in the Men’s Singles Luge. According to NBC, Mazdzer’s win marked “the first men’s singles luge medal in U.S. history.” You can see his medal-winning luge run in the video above.
“It’s 16 years in the making. I’ve had a rough last two years, and it just shows: Don’t ever give up. Whenever you lose, keep fighting,” Mazdzer told NBC’s Lewis Johnson after his historic win.
Mazdzer’s first trip to the Olympics was back in 2010. During his luge run in Vancouver, he finished in 13th place. Four years later, Mazdzer headed to Sochi, finishing in 13th place once more. Since 2014, Mazdzer worked hard to perfect his luge skills, heading to PyeongChang on a mission: He wanted his first Olympic medal.
His first run in PyeongChang was on February 10. He finished in fifth place at 48.075 seconds. His second run was faster — he finished at 47.717 — which put him in fourth place.
“Mazdzer broke the course record Loch had set moments earlier to vault into second place, putting together a flawless run. He conquered the infamous ninth curve with ease to put himself into perfect position for a medal,” NBC reported at the time.
The next day, Mazdzer was able to move himself up to second place with relative ease. As he himself put it, he was in the right frame of mind to get it done.
“I knew I could do it. It was a blast. It didn’t feel as crazy as it probably looked. But I felt in control and yeah, it was amazing,” he said after the run.
His third and fourth heats both went the way he wanted, moving him into second place — but with one more medal contender still set to compete, Mazdzer didn’t know if he’d clinch silver or bronze. Germany’s Felix Loch was the athlete who determined Mazdzer’s fate in the end. Loch ended up losing control, which cost him time, and secured Mazdzer’s spot on the podium.
“It’s incredible. It was hard to believe until it was put around my neck,” Mazdzer said after winning silver.
Since leaving South Korea, Mazdzer has been on a whirlwind tour, of sorts. Not only did he ink a deal to compete on Dancing With the Stars, but he has been doing interviews and has been keeping up with his luge training. He’s also planning on diving into a career in finance. According to CNBC, Mazdzer has a degree in business administration and wants to put it to use. He is studying to become a “certified financial planner” and will be taking an exam this fall.
“I would love to have the opportunity to make that difference in someone’s life. Money is a pretty serious part of everyone’s life, whether we choose to accept it or not,” Mazdzer told the outlet.