"When you wake up in the morning just tell yourself, build the best you."
Chris Mazdzer (@mazdzer) is a 2x Olympic Athlete. In the German dominated sport of luge, he has 10 individual World Cup medals including finishing 3rd overall in 2015-2016 Viessman World Cup season and 3rd Overall in the 2016-2017 BMW Sprint World Cup series. Chris is chair of the Federation of International Luge's (FIL) athletes commission and has a seat on both USA Luge and FIL's executive board. He works with a Canadian not for-profit organization Helmet's for Heroes to help benefit a local children's hospital and raise awareness for helmet safety. When not studying for his CFP designation, Chris can be found mountain biking, skiing, camping, rock climbing, canyoneering, riding his motorcycle and milking life for every damn drop.
Beast® met him in the wilderness to discuss life and ice:
How were you first introduced to Luge and what inspired you to make a career of it?
I was first introduced to luge at the young age of 8. Growing up in Northern New York winter is a long season and one of my favorite winter activities when I was a kid was sledding. In the winter my dad would build a sledding track with banked turns in our front lawn and if I wanted more speed the apple orchard next to our house had a steep and long hill. My friends and I every Wednesday night would have one of our parents drive the 45 minutes to the Lake Placid luge track which hosted a program for kids ages 8-13. Luge was essentially ultimate sledding with a track that seemed endless, fast and way more fun than anything I could do at home.
When I was 10 years old and after three winters of doing this program the luge track was removed to make way for the current luge and bobsled track and the program stopped. The only way to continue my new found passion was to try out for the team. When I was 12 years old I made the development team and lucky for me the coaches saw some sort of potential and decided to take me to Europe to travel with the junior national team when I was 13 years old. Initially what I loved most was traveling to places in Europe that I had only imagined and meeting people from around the world.
It wasn’t until I was around 16 where I new this is what I wanted to do for as much as a career that you can make out of it. I would never say this is my career but rather my underlying passion that consumes everything I do on a daily basis. Luge is a sport that requires absolutely perfect precision, has an element of speed and forces me to be at my very best every day. What makes me love luge is the family element to the sport that requires everyone involved regardless of their background, language, or country to make serious sacrifices to live on the road for 4-6 months out of the year. The mix of adrenaline on a daily basis surrounded by a good community keeps me coming back to the sport every year and set my goals high. Since making luge my underlying passion at a young age I have made it to two Winter Olympic games, won 7 National titles and 10 individual world cup medals.
What is your practice regimen like?
During the winter months when the US team is on ice it is difficult to have a normal routine because we are at the mercy of when we are scheduled for the day and this is constantly changing. The only consistency we get is in Lake Placid during the month of October and it looks something like this:
6am wake up and breakfast
6:30am Leave for the track and warm up
8:00am-10am Slide as many runs as time allows (Usually 4-5)
After we get back, talk with coaches and video analysis of training session
11:00am Lunch or whenever video analysis ends
12:00pm-2pm or 3pm some days. Lifting and Physical training
3:30 – 5pm Sled work to prepare for the next morning’s session
Schoolwork or whatever else needs to get done that could not be done during the day.
Our days are extremely busy during the winter but all of those parts are absolutely essential to being a successful luge athlete.
Describe what it'll be like to win an Olympic Medal. Will you ever get over that feeling?
I will have no idea until that happens but I am building the foundation to hopefully be able to obtain one this February at the Pyeongchang Olympics. From my dreams I bet it will feel something like hitting a walk-off grand slam during the World Series and when you are rounding third base all of your teammates are waiting for you cheering while you cant hear anything because the stadium is so loud… Something like that I imagine.
Where is your favorite place Luge has taken you?
Luge has taken me all over the world not only as an athlete but also as an athlete representative where I have been elected by my peers to be on the executive board of my international federation. I would have to say that Berchtesgaden, Germany is my favorite place that luge has taken me and I am lucky enough to be able to visit in both the summer and winter. Regardless of the season the tiny village nestled right at the foothills of the Bavarian Alps has something spectacular to offer if not just an incredible view.
What piece of advice would you give to anyone who dreams of winning an Olympic medal one day?
When you wake up in the morning just tell yourself, build the best you. Always remember what you are working towards whether or not it is a long term goal like an Olympic Medal or short term like creating a good habit. It’s the little things everyday that add up to an Olympic medal. Just remember what you are working towards and ask yourself if what you are doing will get you there or its something that is non-essential or even setting you back. Just remember to build the best you, whatever that is, is up to you!
Who is your style icon?
I love a classic and clean look that has a little bit of character to it. My style icon is Ryan Reynolds because I think his look is simple, gets his character across and can vary from day to day. I feel that he has a go-to base look but can easily adapt to whatever situation he is in.
What is the most important part of your grooming regimen? If you could only do one thing before you left the house what would it be?
If I could do only one thing before I leave the house it would be to put a matte styling product in my hair. My hair is extremely thick likes to expand and poof outwards when it dries or I stop working out. I look ridiculous without some good help from quality products. I would choose this over brushing my teeth in the morning because at least I can hide that with a mint.