After winning the silver in the men's single luge competition, American Chris Mazdzer shared a touching story about how a fellow Russian luger offered him a hand before the Games -- or more accurately, his sled.
The Russian luger, who felt his own Olympic dreams were dying, suggested Mazdzer use his sled. That's just something competitors at this level just don't do.
"He didn't think he was going to the Olympics, and he wanted to see what someone could do on his sled," said Mazdzer, who would not name the Russian. "It was a legitimate sled. It wasn't, 'We'll give you a sled and it's like something that's 20 years old.' This was what they were using this year."
And Mazdzer, who was training in Latvia a few weeks ago, needed a boost. He'd hit a rough spot in his training, and voiced his frustrations on social media.
"What kills me and has been driving me wild for over a year now is the fact that no matter what I do my top speed and ability to be with the top guys in the world has disappeared, and I don't know why," Mazdzer wrote on Instagram. "There comes a point where giving it everything you have and believing in yourself starts to fade away and I am almost to that point. For some reasons unknown to myself, things are not working out as planned."
So Mazdzer took the Russian up on his offer and tried out that sled.
That didn't work out either: "I'm too big for the sled. I took it down and was out of control."
But Mazdzer was genuinely touched by the Russian's gesture.
"I think what it shows is that we do care about each other and there is this human connection we have that crosses countries, crosses cultures," he said, "and sport is an amazing way to accomplish that."
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