Saranac Lake's Chris Mazdzer wins first ever men's luge singles medal

Leslie Jones Chris Mazder Olympics Luge

The U.S. men's team had previously captured medals in the luge doubles competition (1998 and 2002). Today, it was Chris Mazdzer's turn.

Chris Mazdzer celebrates winning the silver medal in the luge men's singles at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChnang 2018 on February 11, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Chasing a third straight gold medal in the event, Loch came into the fourth and final run with a 0.192-second advantage over Chris Mazdzer of the United States, who led Gleirscher by 0.020.

(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.

Halfway through the four-round event, Mazdzer was in fourth place, with a total time of 1:35.517 - just one one-thousandth of a second behind Roman Repilov, Olympic Athlete from Russian Federation, but it would have been enough to keep him off the medal stand.

After the event Sunday, Mazdzer said his silver capped years of struggle.

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Born in Pittsfield, Mass., Mazdzer grew up in Saranac Lake, N.Y., a 15-minute drive from the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid.

Indeed, his previous Olympic showings didn't exactly augur this historic feat. The U.S. had won five medals in luge since the sport was introduced to the Games in 1964, but none in men's singles.

Mazdzer had a little trouble in run 4, but held it together and it looked like he would end up with a bronze medal. Mazdzer broke the course record Loch had set moments earlier to vault into second place, putting together a flawless run.

NPR's Melissa Block reports he leaped from his sled after that final run, vaulting "into the stands to hug his family and grab an American flag". In both 2010 and 2014, the 29-year-old placed 13th in the singles luge.

He finished in fourth place after two runs, finishing one one-thousandth outside of the top contenders.

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