Hey everyone I am sorry that I didn't get to answer all of your questions but I need to get back to training and building my sled for the upcoming year. I leave Wednesday for Germany and will be on ice in less than 2 weeks!!! If you want to follow my story and abnormal life follow me on Instagram @mazdzer and @mazdzer for everything else. It was a made up name in the early 1900's and since their are just a few of us I have the digital market on it!!! I really appreciate all of your questions and everyone joining me on this thread, Thank you so much!!!!!!

I go by Chris and my last name is pronounced “Mazder”, that second Z is to throw off telemarketers. I’m a 2x Olympian and 7x National Champion in the sport of luge for Team USA (basically ultimate sledding). I grew up in lake Placid, NY but over the past couple years I find that I Live out of my suitcase, which changes locations about every two weeks. I have been lugeing “not losing” since I was 8 years old and am currently training to be the fastest man on ice who wears a full spandex suit, and yes… its tight in all the wrong places. I like to think of myself as a connoisseur of a good time (thank god for auto correct) and enjoy pushing the limits of life. Its important to build the best you and always sleigh the day! AMA!!!

Check out all of the Winter Games AMA at u/TeamUSAOlympics


Proof: https://i.redd.it/mec5cglcxikz.jpg

Comments: 145 • Responses: 33  • Date: 

FriendlyCraig54 karma

If you did it naked, how much time would it add?

Chris_Mazdzer53 karma

to be honest I don't think it would add that much time. There might be something flapping around causing drag... but for the most part I think skin is pretty aerodynamic. The phrase "skin to win" has to mean something!

IGiveFreeCompliments11 karma

That depends. Is he using luge lube?

Chris_Mazdzer17 karma

I just ran out of luge lube!!!! Where can I get some more????

Roller9519 karma

How did you first discover your sport, and why did it attract you?

Chris_Mazdzer33 karma

I first started my sport when I was 8 years old by growing up close to Lake Placid, NY. There was a local program for kids ages 8-13 where we could do either bobsled or luge. The problem with bobsled was that I was only driving half the time and the line was longer. So in a given night I would only drive once or twice. With luge if I ran from the bottom to where we started I could get 7 or 8 runs in any given night... Being the ADHD kid that I was the choice was simple! Luge! I compare it to ultimate sledding and as a kid it was the largest sledding hill that I could find ;) I have loved it ever since.

MFAWG14 karma

Are those skeleton dudes insane?

Chris_Mazdzer22 karma

I have no idea who this is but the politically correct answer is yes*.

*Skeleton is an absolute rush that allows athletes to experience the the sliding sports in an expedited way compared to luge.

That being said, I will argue that luge is more insane than skeleton from the viewpoint that we go faster, we have a higher center of gravity, our crashes are more intense and our sleds are built completely different and it takes us YEARS to reach the top of tracks where Skeleton can be done in WEEKS...

But thats just my opinion from doing this sport for 21 years :P

thehir9512 karma

if you hit a tree, what would happen? and is this an accident prone sport?

Chris_Mazdzer17 karma

I am lucky to say that I have 0 broken bones and 0 concussions from doing this sport. I know others have not been as fortunate as me but for the most part this sport just gives you really bad bruises and this fun thing called ice burn (its the equivalent to road rash). Believe it or not when you crash 80mph on ice there is a good amount of friction that like to melt your skin. But to answer your question if I flew out of the track even at 40mph and hit a tree I don't think I would ever do much again if that answers your question. Good news is that its almost impossible to do now!

syrstorm3 karma

Good news is that its almost impossible to do now!

Why is that? What was changed to keep the riders on the track?

Chris_Mazdzer14 karma

Not only are the tracks designed with higher walls and more safety in mind but also we are learning from experience. The generations before us had some really bad crashes and accidents that have lead to improved safety. When there is a close call at a track action is usually immediate to increase the height of a wall or attempt to redesign the track to minimize accidents.

QUIJIBO_3 karma

Sadly, look up what happened, opening night, at the 2010 Winter Olympics. NSFL

Chris_Mazdzer7 karma

You are right about that, it can still happen and the true dangers are the structures right next to the track that holds the roof, lights and refrigeration. Safety at all tracks around the world has been significantly improved since the incident but that doesn't mean it can't happen again.

slickt0mmy8 karma

How did you get into lugeing? Seems like a sport that isn't easy to get started in, considering you need a giant course available to even try it out.

Chris_Mazdzer11 karma

I was lucky as I grew up next to one of the only two Olympic style luge tracks in the country. I am pretty sure everyone else on my team started by being discovered at one of our organizations (United States Luge Association) slider searches. This is where we replace our metal steels with wheels and have kids do street luge. Based off of natural talent, coachability (spelling) and strength we select kids to travel to Lake Placid for a screening camp where they will then be placed onto the development team. We target kids between the ages of 9-14 because luge takes about a decade to develop the skills necessary to compete at the higher levels.

ragger_lord7 karma

Have you ever broken a street lamp with a firework?

Chris_Mazdzer6 karma

Maybe... next question!

Harry_Fjord7 karma

I've always wanted to replace the wheels on my skateboard with ice blades to skate down a bobsled track. Do you think this is possible? Would I die if I stood too high at the wrong spot? Also, do you know of any facilities that would let me attempt this feat?

Chris_Mazdzer24 karma

Harry, I highly recommend not trying this because of where your center of gravity will be in relation to the height of the walls. What keeps us safe is the fact that when we do crash the track keeps us contained but in a standing position you may fall out of the track resulting more than likely in the end of you... But I know that people have gone down with ice skates in a more crouched and controlled position and Sigulda, Latvia might let you try ;)

Chris_Mazdzer3 karma

Hahaha I named him Garry (not actually sure of his real name) During an NBC media summit we could choose from a variety of animals including puppies, pigs and a goat. I went with Garry!

cheezemeister_x5 karma

How long did it take you to get comfortable wearing a full body spandex suit in public?

Chris_Mazdzer7 karma

Not going to lie it was a little weird at first, but now I can wear it talking in front of 15,000 people so its all about being confident with yourself. You can rock pretty much anything with the right attitude ;)

So about 3 years

Chris_Mazdzer5 karma

I really appreciate all of your questions and everyone joining me on this thread, Thank you so much!!!!!!

ETHNJCB4 karma

What was the highest speed you've ever reached? Have you ever been 'ehem' um aroused while in one of those suits. I'm pretty sure Robin Williams has a piece about that.

Chris_Mazdzer5 karma

92MPH and to answer your second question I have put those suits on probably over a thousand times in my life so based off of probability alone yes... They are tight in all the wrong places.

me_llamo_greg3 karma

Is there any part of your training regime that is geared specifically towards preparing your body for the G forces you experience in competition?

Chris_Mazdzer4 karma

I do neck exercises in the off-season so I can be ready for when I am pulling 5 g's during the season. If my head typically weighs 20 pounds it will be 100lbs under those forces.

Chives923 karma

Hi Chris, what made you wake up one day and think I'll become an Olympic level Luger?

Chris_Mazdzer5 karma

It wasn't a single day but rather the culmination of loving luge, pushing my body/mind and the realization that I wasn't half bad at it. When I was 16 I didn't think I had a chance at the 2006 Olympics. When I was 17 I missed going in a race off by .161 of a second.

Chtorrr3 karma

What is the very best dessert?

Chris_Mazdzer8 karma

An exceptional Creme Brûlée is hard to beat but the truth is I have a sweet tooth so anything with cream and sugar ranks high on my list.

kutties3 karma

Have you ever tried street luge ? What felt different from your normal luging?

Chris_Mazdzer4 karma

So I have never tried street luge like you have seen in the X-games. But we do put wheels on our sleds and go down the track (and if you take them from the organization and don't tell them) and street as well. There is more friction in street luge and you steer a street luge by shifting your weight. In ice luge we are driving more by subtly shifting our weight and pressing in with our legs and hands (It looks like we are barely moving while we are actually doing many things at the same time)

meanttodothat3 karma

On a scale of one to ten, how good is "Cool Runnings"?

Chris_Mazdzer7 karma

Love John Candy, love the story, its all about attitude so 9.7 and only because it wasn't luge.

coryrenton3 karma

what upcoming advances in suit tech do you think will be controversial -- are there theoretical speed limits luge experts think can't be broken?

Chris_Mazdzer8 karma

I dont really think that the time will be with the suit but rather the sled, although the suit is really important! As far as speed limits I truly believe that in Whistler we could reach 100 MPH but we are not allowed to go from the top anymore. Maybe red bull could do an invitational, pay for the insurance and let us see if we can do it??? Anyone from RedBull out there???

SeanConneryIsKing3 karma

Is there a way to train yourself not to pass out from the 5 G's? I'm sick of blacking out on roller coasters.

Chris_Mazdzer4 karma

I think you should watch some videos from jet fighters training to withstand those types of forces. For us it happens so quick that I do not feel like I am going o blackout although sometimes my head gets ripped backwards and smashes on the ice... When that happens things go black for a split second. :/

slickt0mmy3 karma

Do you train for competition full-time? Or do you have an off-season job that keeps you busy as well?

Chris_Mazdzer7 karma

The last 3 years I have been training for competition full time but until the age of 26 I was working 40 hour weeks in the summer to help cover the costs of the sliding season. I worked as a bartender and banquet staff at weddings because these jobs happened primarily on the weekends. This allowed me to train 100% during the week and then bust my ass to make some money on the weekends.

Now I am the chair athlete representative to the athletes commission of the FIL and sit on both the United States and International Federation executive boards in luge and studying to get my Certificate of Financial Planning. Those 2-3 things keep me busy when I am not training

internetmallcop3 karma

What other sport/activity are you also good at that people don't know?

Chris_Mazdzer6 karma

I love to push myself physically and enjoy pretty much all sports and all outdoor activities except for running... I would say that some of the activities I am better at would be cliff jumping (I feel absolutely free going upside down in the air), skiing (but only after the season is over) riding my motorcycle (only slightly above the speed limit ;))

Fig_Jig3 karma

What advice would you give to anyone who might want to take up a similar sport, but might feel intimidated?

Chris_Mazdzer4 karma

Well, the first thing I would tell you is that you are going to be uneasy and nervous at times and these feelings are 100% normal. The hardest part will be overcoming the fear of failure that you will feel and continuing to push forward when others may not be there to believe in you. These sports test your mental willpower more than your physical but once you can let go and accept the risk that it requires you will have a shot. Failure is totally an option, its all about what you do afterwards. Get back up!!!! :)

SorkowFlash3 karma

How do most people react when you tell them what you do?

Chris_Mazdzer5 karma

Haha It all depends on how I like to frame it. I could either say I lay down for a living or I am a professional sledder. That typically gets a different reaction than telling them I am a 2x Olympian in the sport of luge ;) When this happens on one of my nearly 70 flight segments a year it usually ends with us talking for the majority of the flight regarding how strange and different my life is.

slickt0mmy3 karma

Since lugers...lugeists...people who luge mainly use their arms and back for launching, how often do you skip leg day?

Chris_Mazdzer6 karma

The problem is I have friends (and trainers, but mostly friends) who won't let me skip leg day :(

TheCokBlocker3 karma

Was there any experience where you thought you were going to crash/fall off the track? Is it even possible to fall off the track?

Chris_Mazdzer6 karma

Luge is an experienced based sport and part of that experience is crashing... When I first started I would crash all the time. It sucked!!! Some of those crashes are really scary but its a mental sport and over coming that fear and little voice inside of you who is really nervous is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life.

Chris_Mazdzer3 karma

Hey everyone I am sorry that I didn't get to answer all of your questions but I need to get back to training and building my sled for the upcoming year. I leave Wednesday for Germany and will be on ice in less than 2 weeks!!! If you want to follow my story and abnormal life follow me on Instagram @mazdzer and @mazdzer for everything else. It was a made up name in the early 1900's and since their are just a few of us I have the digital market on it!!!

hvisla3 karma

I'm always completely terrified watching luge. How do you feel before luging, whether it's a new track or just practicing? Also, what kinds of basic skills/adjustments/etc. are going on as you're luging that the casual viewer probably wouldn't pick up on?

Chris_Mazdzer5 karma

Hahaha sometimes Im just as nervous as you!!! For the most part my mind is pretty clear right before my run as I have done hundreds of visualizations and know exactly what I want to do and how to execute it. I just need to get into the flow state where my body is reacting naturally and my mind is not second guessing my instincts. This has taken me a long time to learn and master and is why I think I am successful in high pressure situations.

We are doing so many things going down the track that its hard to tell you over this. I recommend tuning into our races this season via a live stream where an athlete will commentate and tell you whats going on. You can find all of that at USAluge.org

Ged_UK2 karma

Have you ever done pairs luge? If so, how does the guy on the bottom steer without being able to see?

Chris_Mazdzer5 karma

Yes! I did doubles luge until I was 20 years old and yes the bottom guy steers without being able to directly see in front of him. Even in singles I am trying not to look directly where I am going and rather rely on my peripherals and the pressures that I am experiencing in the curves. (Thats why it takes a decade to get good at luge)

cmd_iii2 karma

Do you have a motorcycle, and a black leather jacket with "Born to Luge" embroidered on the back?

Chris_Mazdzer6 karma

Yes to the motorcycle and no to the leather jacket with Born to Luge on the back. I have a full leather suit that I like to wear. "better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it"

strippingworrior1 karma

How does it feel to know you'll never be as cool as the skeleton guys?

Chris_Mazdzer3 karma

Im assuming you're a skeleton athlete because anyone else would know thats not true

frappa99901 karma

hey Chris, thanks for doing this

my question is around the financial aspect of being a world class athlete at a sport such as ludgeing (not as popular and not circulating as much money as the "big" sports).

how does the us olimpic comitee compensate you and other athletes and what is your plan after you retire from the sport?

Chris_Mazdzer2 karma

This is an amazing question and I could write an essay on this... In the Olympic Sports worlds we are compensated based solely off of performance. it's a catch 22 because we need support in order to perform to the best of our ability. I was lucky in the sense that the United States Luge Association was able to offer me almost complete support in terms of traveling. But as an athlete in the smaller sports we do not have the endorsements that other sports can have and need to work in the offseason most the time to have a comfortable life.

I am actually going into financial planning because of my passion around this topic, hence why I could write an essay about this.

Amazing question!