Germany’s Felix Loch was attempting to make history by winning his third gold medal in a row in men's singles luge, and matching fellow German Georg Hackl.
Instead, Loch faltered on the final run of the night, falling to fifth place as Austria's David Gleirscher took advantage, pulled off a thrilling upset over one of luge's all-time greats at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
American Chris Mazdzer had excellent third and fourth runs to vault from fourth to second to win the silver medal -- the first medal in men’s singles in U.S. history. Johannes Ludwig of Germany won bronze.
Loch shockingly falters on final run after three brilliant runs
Loch set the tone with his first run of the day, setting a course record (that record was broken by Mazder moments later). He slid flawlessly, extending his lead. But everything fell apart in the final run as Loch looked a shell of his self, unable to control his line down the hill.
He crossed the finish line fifth, sitting for several seconds on his sled in disbelief and anguish as Gleirscher celebrated his upset win. "I knew I was fast", he said after his upset win. "I didn't know I was that fast".
Ludwig summed things up best when he said “The result of today, no one would have expected that. Felix has shown he’s the man. He’s a great athlete. He’s always the favorite. But Felix is also human. He makes mistakes.”
Gleirscher brings hime first luge gold for Austria in 50 years
The last Austrian man to win the Olympic title in men's singles luge was Manfred Schmid. Gleirscher was an unlikely candidate to join him as he has never medalled in a World Championship event, his best finish being fourth.
"I can't believe it, it's just a magic moment," the 23-year old said. "I just brought down a good run and I am just happy that this happened.
"In the first moment I thought Felix is going to be Olympic champion, and then he made a mistake. It's just magic, I can't describe this, it's just unbelievable."
His winning time was 3:10.702 seconds, 0.26 better than Mazdzer and .230 faster than Ludwig.
Mazdzer makes history for the United States
Placing fourth after the first two heats on Saturday, a mere one-thousandth of a second away from a medal spot, Mazdzer knew he had a chance at the podium.
He threw down a track-record time of 47.354 in his third heat — jumping from fourth to second and closing the gap on Loch. In his final run, Mazdzer crossed the line knowing he clinched a medal.
The only question was whether it would be silver or bronze. Loch was the only slider left, and his skid sealed the outcome. The previous best finish by any American was fourth on two occasions.
Following his historic silver medal, Mazdzer took to Instagram saying "I’m still processing what happened last night. It honestly doesn’t even feel real yet!" while thanking the"amazing group of people in my life that stick with me even when times are tough and sharing this high with them is one of the best ways I can say thank you back".
He took time to salute his coaches and teammates, stating "to my amazing teammates who always push me to be my very best. To my coaches who always believed in me and would stop at nothing to get me on that podium".
Finally, he thanked his family and friends, posting To my incredible family who has been my emotional rock and has the unfortunate task of always having to deal with me. To my friends around the world who support my crazy ways!
He concluded by saying "All I can say is thank you and we finally did it!!!!"