PARK CITY Injuries are bound to happen when an athlete spends hundreds of hours skimming the ice at 85 mph. For American junior luge racer Chris Mazdzer, he is just beginning to come back to form after missing plenty of training time with an injury over the summer. The only bizarre thing about his time missed was that it was for a ruptured spleen, and he did that while jet skiing. He was hurt having nothing to do with the intense speed he generates on the ice.
"I am starting to get back to where I want to be," said Mazdzer. "I wasn't able to work out over the summer, so my start times are still not as good as I want. I think that as soon as I get a little more time to work on my starts, things will be better."
Mazdzer and his doubles racing partner Jayson Terdiman finished second in the junior (20 years of age and under) doubles event at the Utah Olympic Park sliding track Thursday afternoon. It is a position they are becoming all too familiar with as this makes the fifth consecutive silver-medal finish for the team. Each time they have fallen to the German team of Toni Eggert and Marcel Oster.
The youths women's race went as expected for American Kate Hansen. She won the competition, something that is becoming almost commonplace for her. But she still does not want to put too much pressure to continue bringing in the gold at every stop.
"I am just going out there and having fun," said Hansen of why she has had so much success.
The Americans swept the podium for the youths as Lea Vanderlinden captured the silver and teammate Emily Sweeney the bronze.
The top American for the women's juniors racers was Stacey Young. Her third-place finish was her personal best on the season after a fourth, seventh and two sixth-place finishes.
When asked what she can do to keep improving on her performance, she answered with something almost never uttered by any female.
"I need to gain a little more weight," she said. "That, and then just keep sliding and getting a better feel."The racing continues today with the men's juniors and youth competition. The sliding begins at 9 a.m.