Mazdzer in 5th place after 1st of 4 Olympic luge runs

Meet the Team USA luge racing star who's heating up the 2018 Winter Olympics

Mazdzer, the 29-year-old from Pittsfield, Mass., finished behind Austria's David Gleirscher, who won a shocking gold as Germany's Felix Loch faltered in his final run.

Austrian David Gleirscher only just made it onto the Austrian Olympic team, and had never won a medal at a World Cup event before, his best-ever finish never higher than fourth.

Single's luge consists of four timed runs on a sled down a narrow, serpentine track.

American luge racer Chris Mazdzer is competing for the gold during the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, and he's stealing quite a few hearts in the process. He ended a 54-year drought for Team USA.

"It's 16 years in the making", Mazdzer told NBC's Lewis Johnson after winning silver. "I've just been having fun the last week".

"You can either give up or you can keep pushing on", Mazdzer said.

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The confidence that had been quietly accumulating exploded on Saturday, when Mazdzen came within a whisker of the medal positions after two solid runs in the preliminaries. Loch went to sleep on the lead at the midway mark in 2010 and 2014, and now finds himself in position to join only Germany's Georg Hackl to win three straight Olympic men's luge titles. Mazdzer broke the course record Loch had set moments earlier to vault into second place, putting together a flawless run.

West, who was 18th overall following the first two runs, had hoped to move up in the final standings on Sunday.

Mazdzer's USA teammates didn't fare quite as well.

Chris Mazdzer of United States smiles in the finish area after his second run in the men's luge at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. Tucker West finished 26th and Taylor Morris finished 18th.

The Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games are now off to a rousing start for the American squad, which transitions to the women's singles race on Monday and Tuesday nights.

(L-R) Chris Mazdzer, David Gleirscher and Johannes Ludwig celebrate after watching the final run of Felix Loch in the luge men's singles at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang on February 11, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea.

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