PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Even though Taylor Morris didn’t have to do anything but wait and watch, the weight of the moment was almost unbearable.
“I was more nervous that run than anything in my entire life,” the South Jordan native said of watching teammate Chris Mazdzer become the first U.S. man to win an individual Olympic medal in the sport of luge. “I know how hard he works, and how much it would mean to him to be able to get up on the podium and make history for USA luge.
“This is the first time any men’s single has been on the podium — ever. And so to be part of that, in a sense of being his friend and his teammate, you know, someone who can push him in certain boundaries of luge, it’s fun. We all build off of each other, and I think he’s just taken his game to another level.”
Morris achieved his own Olympic goal, then climbed into the stands to watch one of the most exciting and unpredictable luge races in history with his family at his side.
“I was up in the stands, and then I actually (went) back down onto the finish dock because I knew if Chris did succeed that I was going to be able to give him a hug,” said Morris, who finished in 18th place, achieving his own goal of making the top 20 in his first Olympic competition. “It’s such an incredible feeling. I’m so happy for him. I train with this kid every single day, and day in and day out, he’s an animal. And it’s paying off.”
Mazdzer’s silver medal is more remarkable considering he hadn’t earned a podium all season. But surprise endings seemed to be the theme of the night.
Germany’s Felix Loch, who was looking for his third consecutive Olympic gold, led the competition for the first three of four runs. Mazdzer was in fourth place, just .001 seconds away from third place, after two runs.
Graphic: Utah natives competing in the Pyeongchang Games
Morris was in 23rd place heading into the third run Sunday night, but he had a goal to make the top 20 so he could earn a fourth run. He laid down the 13th best run of the third round, moving into 18th place, which began a series of shocking and thrilling runs that led to an unexpected podium.
On the same run that Morris moved into the top 20, Mazdzer set a new track record and moved into second place behind Loch.
As the fourth and final run began, Loch led, Mazdzer was second, and Austria’s David Gleirscher was third.
Morris watched with his family as a thrilling race unfolded. Gleirscher took the lead after his final run. Mazdzer followed him, but small mistakes in the bottom of the track put him in second place. Loch’s German teammate Johannes Ludwig had moved from fifth to third, and waited for what was expected to be a fourth-place finish.
Then the unexpected happened, and Loch had both …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Top stories