Chris Mazzer was wrong. He is on his way to the Olympics.
The 2018 silver medalist, who had originally thought to finish 25th in the race for the World Cup this past weekend, had ruined his chances of making the Beijing Games, according to USA Luge on Monday Was named to his fourth Olympic team.
The decision on whether or not he was leaving was based on the fact that USA Luge was told that he had qualified three places for the men’s singles Olympic arena. Tucker West and Johnny Gustafson knew they had spots, and Mazzer spent the weekend waiting and wondering.
Finally got the call on Monday.
“Man, honestly, relief,” Mazdzer told The Associated Press shortly after being reported by USA Luge. “Incredibly upbeat. It’s a mixed bag this time. I had no idea it was going to be emotionally exhausting and stressful. It’s relief, respect and excitement.”
Mazzer is the only USA luge men’s singles slider to win a medal at the Olympics, after earning a silver medal at the Pyeongchang Games four years ago. The only other singles medal for the Americans in Olympic competition came in 2014, when Erin Hamlin won the bronze medal at the Sochi Games.
USA Luge has won medals four times in doubles, taking silver and bronze at both the 1998 Nagano Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.
Mazdzer was hoping to race in both singles and doubles at the Beijing Games. She and doubles teammate Jason Terdeman were kicked out of Olympic competition last week.
“I’m definitely very excited to go to the Olympics,” Mazdzer said. “I wish it happened to Jason too.”
The rest of the team that USA Luge was nominating for US Olympic and Paralympic Committee approval, usually just a formality, was already scheduled for Monday. Summer Bricher, Emily Sweeney and Ashley Farquharson will race in women’s singles, Zack Di Gregorio and Sean Hollander will make their Olympic debuts in doubles, and they will be joined by men’s trio.
“This is my third time going through the Olympic Trials process and I was blown away by the support and character shown across the board in this team – whether they made the team or not,” Bricher said. “It was such incredible sportsmanship. And I’m heartbroken for my teammates who didn’t make the team, but I’m really excited to see how this sportsmanship and teamwork builds up over the next several years.”
Terdiman plans to retire; Mazdzer is leaning toward retirement after this season, though he hasn’t made a final decision and could return for a possible farewell if there is at least one race in North America in the coming season.
“It would be nice to have at least one race back in North America,” Mazdzer said.
More Associated Press Winter Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/winter-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports