[SERGEI BOBYLEV VIA GETTY IMAGES]
Over the weekend, Chris Mazdzer won the first singles luge medal in U.S. men’s history when he took the silver, and he shared a story about a Russian competitor who defined good sportsmanship. At an event in Latvia, an athlete from Russia stepped up and offered to lend Mazdzer, who was in a slump, his state-of-the-art luge.
He says the unnamed competitor didn’t think he was going to the Olympics, but wanted to see how his sled would do. Mazdzer took it for a practice run before deciding he was too large for it. But the generous gesture impressed the U.S. athlete, and he says, “That friendship and trust was really moving.”
“I guess it goes against every U.S.-Russian stereotype ever,” Mazdzer explains. “I think what it shows is that we do care about each other and there is this human connection that crosses countries, crosses cultures.”