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Chris Mazdzer adds doubles luge after Olympic medal

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Olympic luge silver medalist Chris Mazdzer is doubling up this winter.

Mazdzer has decided to compete in both singles and doubles in World Cup events, in large part because USA Luge didn’t have another option to partner with Olympic doubles veteran Jayson Terdiman.

If the Americans didn’t have a senior doubles team ready for the World Cup, they wouldn’t have been able to compete in team relays this winter — and Terdiman effectively would have been forced into retirement.

“It’s a lot of motivation,” Mazdzer said Monday from Lake Placid, New York, where he and Terdiman took five training runs together at Mount Van Hoevenberg on the season’s opening day for sliding at USA Luge’s home track. “I like when people are like, ‘Chris, you won’t be able to do that.’ This hasn’t been done successfully in two-plus decades. But why not now?”

The move also brings Mazdzer back to his roots. He and Terdiman were successful as a junior team, medaling twice at world championships and winning USA Luge’s team-of-the-year honors for the 2007-08 season.

“It could be something,” Terdiman said. “We’re hoping we’re able to find that magic. It’s asking a lot, but we have a lot of confidence in our own abilities.”

Mazdzer became the first American men’s singles luge athlete to win an Olympic medal, grabbing the silver at the PyeongChang Games earlier this year. Terdiman is a two-time Olympian in doubles, going in 2014 with Christian Niccum and this year with Matt Mortensen. Niccum retired after the 2014 Olympics, and Mortensen retired after PyeongChang.

So Terdiman spent the summer without a partner, and a couple of hours before former USA Luge teammate Megan Sweeney’s wedding, he and Mazdzer got together for coffee.

“I thought about retirement a lot this summer,” Terdiman said. “It was going to be forced if I didn’t have anybody to slide with, and that was a very real thing until Chris and I sat down a couple hours before Megan’s wedding. We talked about him doing both. The confidence he has in himself is very large. He’s going to give it a shot and we’ll see what happens.”

Mazdzer understands that this means he will have a most unusual winter.

There are nine World Cup races this season, and six of those call for the men’s race and the doubles race to be contested on the same day — so Mazdzer will be logging very long hours at the track. There also were International Luge Federation rules to consider about training runs; sliders typically get five or six runs at a track before a World Cup, and Mazdzer will be permitted to get the full allotment of training in both disciplines.

“I’m really pumped about this,” Mazdzer said. “Having the team relay is a huge part of being on the U.S. team. I want to see the U.S. win team relays. I think we’re capable. We have a fantastic team and if doubles works out, we’ve got a shot.”

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MORE: U.S. Olympic luge medalist to run NYC Marathon

Erin Hamlin to run New York City Marathon

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Erin Hamlin, the first U.S. Olympic singles luge medalist and Team USA flag bearer at the PyeongChang Olympic Opening Ceremony, will run the New York City Marathon on Nov. 4.

Hamlin, a 2014 Olympic bronze medalist who retired after her fourth Olympics in PyeongChang at age 31, is running to fundraise for the Women’s Sports Foundation. So is Marlen Esparza, who in 2012 became the first U.S. Olympic women’s boxing medalist (flyweight bronze).

Hamlin has no marathon experience, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.

“Being challenged in sport is something I am very familiar with,” Hamlin said in a mass email Wednesday, according to TeamUSA.org. “Long distance running is something I most certainly am not!! It will be difficult, mentally and physically daunting, but a way to test my abilities in a sport so far out of my comfort zone.”

Many Olympians in non-running sports have raced the New York City Marathon.

Bill Demong, the 2010 U.S. Olympic Closing Ceremony flag bearer and only U.S. Olympic Nordic combined champion, ran the 2014 NYC Marathon in 2:33:05, crushing eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno‘s 3:25:14 from 2011.

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MORE: Top luge moments from PyeongChang Olympics

Adam Rippon, Tonya Harding make Dancing with the Stars final

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Figure skaters Tonya Harding and Adam Rippon make up two-thirds of next week’s “Dancing with the Stars” final after three other Olympians were eliminated in Monday’s semifinals.

Figure skater Mirai Nagasu, luger Chris Mazdzer and softball pitcher Jennie Finch were eliminated. Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman joins Harding and Rippon in next week’s one-hour finale.

“It’s a mixture of I’m so excited to go to the finals, I’m so sad that Mirai won’t be there with me,” Rippon told “Entertainment Tonight.”

“I hope I get more opportunities like this,” Nagasu said.

Harding and Rippon were both in tears on Monday’s episode where athletes dedicated dances to loved ones. Harding dedicated hers to her dad, who died nine years ago.

“Whether I win doesn’t matter,” Harding said before scoring 33 out of a possible 40 points. “I don’t want to leave. … Thank you, America, from the bottom of my heart.”

DANCE VIDEOS: Finch | Harding | MazdzerNagasu | Rippon | Nagasu vs. Rippon | Finch vs. Harding

Eliminations were made combining judges scores with viewer voting.

Rippon was the only athlete to score a 10 in Monday’s individual dance.

He scored three of them shirtless, dressed in white pants with feathers draped across his upper back and shoulders and dancing in a birdcage to Coldplay’s “O (Fly On),” music he used in free skates the last two seasons.

Next week, Rippon and Harding look to become the third figure skater to win “Dancing with the Stars” after Kristi Yamaguchi and Meryl Davis.

Harding has now advanced further than Nancy Kerrigan did on the show one year ago.

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MORE: Full list of Olympians to appear on ‘Dancing with the Stars’