When Chris Mazdzer won the silver medal in men's singles luge Sunday, he became the first American in history to win a medal in the event. He’s looking for one more first in the luge team relay on Thursday. He will be joined by Baltimore-born Summer Britcher, USA Luge confirmed, as the teammates look to become the first Americans to medal in the event.
A doubles team will join Mazdzer and Britcher. (A full relay squad is made up of one men’s single sled, one women’s single sled and one doubles sled) will be decided after the completion of the doubles competition Wednesday.
A full live stream of the luge relay can be found here.
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The U.S. finished sixth in the inaugural relay in 2014 with Mazdzer and 2014 women's singles bronze medalist Erin Hamlin on the single sleds and Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman on the doubles sled. Germany won the event with Natalie Geisenberger, Felix Loch, and Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt, who all won their respective events in Sochi. Geisenberger won in women’s singles luge in Pyeongchang while Loch had the worst run of his Olympic career to miss out on a medal, dropping from first to fifth.
Team USA has the talent to medal in the relay. Mazdzer won his historic silver medal with four mistake-free runs. Britcher, meanwhile, finished 19th in the women’s singles luge, but set the course record on her second run.
The luge team relay, which was first introduced in 2014, is one continuous race — just like a relay in track — that starts with the women’s singles sled. Once she finishes, she will hit an overhead touchpad. That touchpad is sort of like a track baton. Once touched, it opens the starting gate for the men’s singles sled. He, too, has to hit the touchpad to open the gate for the doubles sled. Once the doubles team crosses the finish line, time stops.
Each leg of the relay starts at the women’s start line, which is not the same start line the men’s singles or doubles competitors used in their competition.