Mazdzer-Terdiman sled crashes, Olympic luge hopes soar

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Olympic veterans Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman crashed in a World Cup qualifying race on Friday, putting an end to their hopes of being the doubles sled that will represent USA Luge at the Beijing Games next month.

This place will now go to Zack Di Gregorio and Sean Hollander, or Dana Kellogg and Duncan Segger. The Di Gregorio-Hollander sled has the advantage for Saturday’s World Cup doubles race, having finished ahead of the Kellogg-Segger sled in Friday’s qualifying race in Sigulda, Latvia.

The rest of the US Olympic luge team for the Beijing Games are now in place, awaiting the official nomination on Monday: Summer Britcher, Emily Sweeney and Ashley Farquharson will be the women’s singles team, while Mazdzer – the medalist 2018 Olympic silver – with Tucker West and Jonny Gustafson are the likely selections in men’s singles.

It would be the first Olympics for Farquharson, Gustafson, and any other American doubles sled.

Terdiman has announced that he is retiring after this season. He aimed to form a third consecutive Olympic team with a different third doubles partner, which has not been done in USA Luge history.

“It was an absolute pleasure to compete for the United States,” said Terdiman. “There is no greater honor.”

The rules of the USA Luge selection process are complicated, but the result is quite simple: the better a sled’s World Cup results, the better their Olympic chances. A top-five finish in a World Cup race goes a long way in securing a nomination to the US Olympic team.

But there hasn’t been a single race this season on the tracks Americans know best in North America. The International Luge Federation has withdrawn from races in Whistler, Canada, and Lake Placid, New York this season, citing concerns about how Russian athletes would obtain visas to enter North America, and has rescheduled these two events for the Sochi 2014 Olympic track in Russia. .

And that decision has not helped Mazdzer and Terdiman’s cause, as they haven’t had a weekend with an icy edge at home. Their best result in a field doubles race was an 11th place in Sochi, and no doubles sled got the top five, which would have brought them much closer to Olympic qualification.

This meant that the competition for the American doubles spot took place this weekend, the last stop of the race before the Olympic team nomination. Di Gregorio and Hollander finished eighth in the qualifying race, one place ahead of Kellogg and Segger – the difference being just 0.069 seconds.

Mazdzer and Terdiman set the fastest times halfway through the qualifying race, but soon lost control and failed to finish, sealing their fate.

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