Reigning luge silver medalist Chris Mazdzer breaks foot ahead of Olympic season

Medal Ceremony - Winter Olympics Day 3
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“Well this wasn’t the post I wanted to make in the beginning of the season,” Chris Mazdzer began on Instagram. And it wasn’t the post U.S. Olympic fans wanted to read.

Accompanied by a photo that shows Mazdzer holding crutches toward the sky and his right foot in what appears to be a boot, the luge athlete revealed on Thursday that he had broken his foot “in a few places” earlier in the week.

The 2018 Olympic silver medalist hit his foot during a training run in Sochi, Russia. The U.S. luge team is in the first few days of a two-week training camp at the 2014 Olympic track – one of four tracks around the globe the team will train on prior to beginning the World Cup season in late November.

“After investing physically, mentally and financially for this Olympic year, the game plan changed in just the matter of a few seconds,” his post included.

Mazdzer is no stranger to injury, having undergone shoulder surgeries in both 2016 and 2019.

Now 33, Mazdzer is the leader and face of the team. His medal-winning performance in PyeongChang, South Korea, nearly four years ago marked the first U.S. Olympic medal in men’s singles luge.

After the Games, he went on “Dancing with the Stars” and finished in the top six with pro partner Whitney Carson in a 10-team all-athlete season.

As he began preparing for the next – and likely final – four-year Olympic cycle of his career, Mazdzer realized he was eager for a new challenge. In addition to training for singles luge, he partnered up with two-time Olympian Jayson Terdiman in doubles.

They had previously competed together as juniors a decade earlier.

In their first season back together, Mazdzer and Terdiman earned a silver medal in a World Cup sprint race on their home track in Lake Placid, New York.

On foreign tracks, they have finished as high as fifth, while Mazdzer’s best international singles result this quad is ninth.

Mazdzer and Terdiman have also won four World Cup medals – plus bronze at the 2020 World Championships – as part of the U.S. team relay.

Despite the broken foot, the Saranac Lake, New York, native still plans to make his fourth Olympic appearance in Beijing in February — and medal.

“Neither of us has been deterred from the end goal, putting Team USA on the podium in Beijing,” Terdiman, who will return to the U.S. with Mazdzer, said in a USA Luge press release.

If all goes according to plan, Mazdzer would have the maximum three chances to medal in Beijing in men’s singles, doubles and the team relay.

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Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss

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One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“This wasn’t the skate that I wanted,” said Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen. The Virginia chalked up the flaws at least partially to putting more recent practice time into his short program, which he skated clean on Friday after errors in previous competitions.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results

Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

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Mark McMorris breaks Winter X Games medals record with slopestyle gold

Mark McMorris
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Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris broke his tie with American Jamie Anderson for the most Winter X Games medals across all sites, earning his 22nd medal, a slopestyle gold, in Aspen, Colorado.

On the final run of Sunday’s contest, McMorris overtook Norway’s Marcus Kleveland with back-to-back 1620s on the last two jumps. McMorris’ last three Aspen slopestyle titles were all won on his final run (2019, 2022).

“It’s something I never thought would ever come to me as a kid from Saskatchewan,” McMorris, 29, said on the broadcast. “Everything’s just been a bonus since I became a pro snowboarder.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression of their best run over the course of a jam session rather than scoring individual runs.

McMorris won his record-extending seventh X Games Aspen men’s slopestyle title, one day after finishing fourth in big air.

“It just keeps getting crazier because I keep getting older,” he said. “People just keep pushing the limits, pushing the limits. Last night was such a downer, almost bums me out, like, dude, do I still have it? … To have one of those miracle wins where you do it on the last run and someone makes you push yourself, those are the best feelings.”

McMorris won slopestyle bronze medals at each of the last three Olympics and reportedly said last February that he was planning to compete through the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games.

Canadian Max Parrot, the 2022 Olympic slopestyle champion, is taking this season off from competition.

Anderson, a two-time Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion, is expecting her first child.

Later Sunday, American David Wise earned his first major ski halfpipe title since repeating as Olympic champion in 2018. Wise landed back-to-back double cork 1260s to end his winning run, according to commentators.

“I wouldn’t still be out here if I didn’t think I had a chance,” Wise, 32 and now a four-time X Games Aspen champ, said on the broadcast. “I’m not going to be the guy who just keeps playing the game until everybody just begs me to stop.”

U.S. Olympian Mac Forehand won men’s ski big air with a 2160 on his last run, according to commentators. It scored a perfect 50. Olympic gold medalist Birk Ruud of Norway followed with a triple cork 2160 of his own, according to commentators, and finished third.

Canadian skier Megan Oldham added slopestyle gold to her big air title from Friday, relegating Olympic champion Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland to silver.

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