Fresh off of an Olympic win, luge athlete Chris Mazdzer is already eyeing a second career in financial planning.
Mazdzer made history when he won a silver medal in the men's singles luge on Feb. 11, making him the first American to ever win a medal in the event.
"It's incredible," Mazdzer said of the win. "It was hard to believe until it was put around my neck."
Mazdzer said he sees the triumph as an opportunity to give back to the sport, including the 33 male athletes who shared his Olympic dreams.
"If you are a luge athlete, you give your entire life to this sport," Mazdzer said. "I can go to those 33 guys, to the organization, sponsors, everyone who has volunteered, given everything for this sport and be like, 'We did it.'"
Mazdzer, 29, is already thinking of other ways he can give back.
Mazdzer, a Massachusetts native, was first exposed to luge — which he describes as "ultimate sledding" — at 8 years old. He was drawn to luge over bobsledding because the line was shorter and you could get more runs in. "It was just the most fun I could have in the winter," Mazdzer said.
At 13 years old, he travelled to Europe on his own as part of the junior national team.
"I wasn't the strongest athlete. I wasn't the best luge athlete," Mazdzer said. "But if you told me to chop off my hand because I would go faster, I would do it. I was very passionate."
Traveling without his parents forced Mazdzer to "grow up pretty quickly." He had to keep up with his schooling remotely, which required discipline.