Luge feeds Jayson Terdiman’s adrenaline addiction
A dream that began a dozen years ago will come true this month when Lake Placid resident Jayson Terdiman competes in his first Olympics on the United States luge team.
Along with partner and Olympic veteran Christian Niccum, the 25-year-old will be one of two American teams entered in the Olympics’ doubles luge event, with the other being Preston Griffall and Matt Mortenson. All of them live in Lake Placid for at least half the year while training, but Terdiman has made it his home year-round.
Like many, Terdiman got his first taste of the sport through the USA Luge Slider Search program, which his mother discovered when he was a youngster in Pennsylvania.
“My mother saw a flyer for one of these tryouts at work, and the next weekend we were in Syracuse, New York, giving it a shot,” Terdiman said. “I immediately fell in love with the sport.
“The Olympics were always something I looked forward to watching as a kid. I guess the first time I truly knew I wanted to be an Olympian was in 2002 during the Salt Lake games,” Terdiman continued. “I remember being in Lake Placid for a training camp and watching them on TV in the cafeteria of the Olympic Training Center. Just watching our athletes compete looked like the coolest thing ever, and that was it. I knew what I wanted to do in the sport. I was 13.”
Terdiman began sliding doubles with Niccum, who will be a three-time Olympian, the season after the Vancouver games. Together they collected a bronze medal racing at Winterberg, Germany. In eight World Cup races this season, their results have ranged between ninth and 16th place, including a 14th-place finish in the season finale on Jan. 25 in Sigulda, Latvia.
“My goal (at the Olympics) is very simple: Be ready for the race, and compete at the highest possible level for myself,” Terdiman said. “I believe that if Christian and I do everything we possibly can to maximize our performance on race day, then we will have a shot to do something very special at the Olympics.”
Terdiman moved to Lake Placid in 2007, just a week after graduating from high school, to pursue his Olympic dream. Since then, he’s traveled across North America and Europe while competing at the junior and senior levels.
“When I got started in the sport, I was away from home for weeks at a time, and gradually that turned into months,” he said. “I’ve always been an adrenaline junkie, and luge feeds that addiction every single run. The feeling of sliding is unparalleled in anything else I’ve found in life.”
After years of dedication and sacrifice working toward a dream, Terdiman will soon have the opportunity to experience another chapter in his luge career as a first-time Olympian.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” he said. “I know that it’s a big deal in my career, but being a part of Team USA is so much bigger than anything I could ever have dreamed of as a kid. I think that after opening ceremonies in Sochi, I’ll be much better at answering this question.”