SARANAC LAKE — The average blink of a human eye lasts about three-tenths of a second, and a bolt of lighting can strike in one one-hundredth of a second.
The outcome of a luge race can be decided by one one-thousandth of a second.
“The sport of luge is all about perfection,” Chris Mazdzer said.
The pursuit of that perfection has led the Saranac Lake native around the world and next month will take him to his second Olympics.
Lately, Mazdzer has been closer than ever to perfection. He’s wrapping up the best World Cup season of his career and eyeing a Top 10 finish at the Sochi Olympics.
LUGING SINCE AGE 8
The 25-year-old began the sport at age 8, attended the National Sports Academy in Lake Placid and has been a member of the U.S. National Team since 2009.
Mazdzer clinched his spot on the Olympic team with a fourth-place finish at a World Cup race in November and said that “was a huge burden lifted off my shoulders.”
On Dec. 6, he became the first American male since 2007 to make a World Cup podium when he placed second in Whistler, British Columbia, and the next week he repeated the silver-medal feat in Park City, Utah.
Did those career-best performances buoy his outlook for Sochi?
“Yes and no,” Mazdzer said. “It’s nice knowing I can be competitive, but I know for a fact that the Germans, they hold back in races that don’t matter. For the Olympics, they have very fast equipment and are extremely difficult to compete with.
“The Russians are also medal contenders because they’ve been pouring so much into the track and their equipment.”
‘WE WERE CAVEMEN’
Luge is the only sliding sport timed to the thousandth of a second. In races that require such precision, equipment can be everything.