SOCHI, RUSSIA (NBC) -
Chris Mazdzer is not only an Olympian, he has the rare honor of being first luge athlete nominated to the 2014 team.
The 25-year-old, who was born in Pittsfield, is ready to take on his second Olympic games.
He's been preparing, pretty much, his whole life!
“I became involved with luging when I was 8-years-old. It was fun, it was fast and I just fell in love with it at a very young age,” Mazdzer said.
Chris says luging, where you reach speeds of 90 miles an hour, is the ultimate in sledding.
“It is the pinnacle of sledding. It is the fastest, most intense sledding you can do,” he said.
“There’s only two tracks in the entire country. One’s here in Lake Placid, New York, the other is in Park City, Utah. So if you are from those areas, you have a great chance to try, if you’re not from that area, it’s a little more difficult to get into,” Mazdzer said.
After finishing 13th in Vancouver in 2010, Chris says he is more focused than ever.
“Once I’m down in my sled, you're so focused, you're not thinking of anything. You can barely remember what you were thinking about before, nothing else matters. It’s this euphoria where it's just you and the sled and you're rocketing down this track,” he said.
But he's not all fun and games, this athlete has a head for business!
“I’m currently going to DeVry for my business finance degree, which people wouldn't really see out of me. They probably see me as this kind of crazy adrenaline guy who doesn't have any fears and takes lots of risks, but I want an education also,” he said.
Chris says while the Olympic Games are the pinnacle, his whole career as a luger has been a dream come true.
“The most exciting part of being an athlete is going to these different countries, enjoying other cultures, meeting people from all around the world. Especially at a young age, I’ve been traveling since 13 so meeting kids from Slovenia, Germany, Latvia, Russia, you really get to learn their cultures and their values. My favorite thing is learning what the world is like,” he said.
Chris says he has traveled so much, he can't even count how many countries he has been too!