U.S. ath­lete gets un­ex­pected help

Ottawa Citizen - - WINTER OLYMPICS -

In his ef­forts to break out of a slump and get back on top, Amer­i­can luger Chris Mazdzer, the sur­pris­ing new owner of an Olympic sil­ver medal, re­ceived a help­ing hand from per­haps the un­like­li­est of places — a com­peti­tor from the Rus­sian team. It’s hard to be­lieve how far Mazdzer had come in just the past few weeks. In Jan­uary, he’d slid to No. 18 in the world rank­ings, felt stuck in a rut that was com­ing to de­fine his en­tire sea­son. Other lugers had taken no­tice, and Mazdzer re­vealed Mon­day that one of his Rus­sian ri­vals of­fered the use of his sled. The Rus­sian racer felt his own Olympic hopes were fad­ing, Mazdzer said, but wanted to help the Amer­i­can vet­eran do his best. How of­ten does a luger of­fer up his most im­por­tant piece of equip­ment? “Never,” Mazdzer said. It would be like a NASCAR driver lend­ing out his car or a sprinter pass­ing along his lucky run­ning shoes. “It’s like, ‘This is your com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage, this is ev­ery­thing. Are you sure?’ ” Mazdzer said. “And in some bro­ken lan­guage of smiles and hand­shakes and high-fives, it’s like, ‘Yeah, just do it.’ ”

Chris Mazdzer

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