Medway's Zack DiGregorio on his 'wild ride' to competing in luge in … – GBH News

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Zack DiGregorio says he’s ready for the world stage.
DiGregorio, who grew up in Medway, Mass., is representing the United States at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games in the luge men’s doubles event. One of 12 Massachusetts Olympic athletes on the U.S. team, he and his luge partner Sean Hollander are competing on Feb. 9.
“It’s an amazing experience, a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” DiGregorio said.
DiGregorio said he got into his sport by happenstance. When he was 10, his family decided a fun day trip would be to participate in a nationwide athlete recruitment event called the White Castle USA Luge Slider Search, which was being held in the town of Carlisle.
“It was just a nice summer day in August.” DiGregorio recalled.
At these events, U.S. Olympic and National Team coaches and athletes teach participants the basics of riding a luge sled, which involves positioning, steering and stopping the sled — lying down on their backs feet first. Scouts watch the young participants as they ride down hills on sleds with wheels.
“We got ice cream after and didn’t think much of it at the time,” DiGregorio said, “and then I got invited back and made it all the way to here, so it’s been a pretty wild ride from that summer day.”
Steering a luge down an icy track is not for the faint of heart. The sleds travel between 75 and 90 miles an hour on less than a mile of track. The world record in the luge men’s doubles: just over 42 seconds. Olympic medals go to the teams with the fastest cumulative times following two runs.
DiGregorio had competed in the singles events until the pandemic hit.
“The junior World Cup circuit got shut down and the senior World Cup circuit got reduced, so Sean Hollander, now my doubles partner, we decided to try and do doubles instead of one of us going to Europe and one of us staying home.” DiGregorio explained. “It wasn’t anything that we thought was going to take off like crazy, but then we started to get more consistent throughout that first season, and then this season, we started off in Russia and made it to the World Cup circuits. Then we were racing every single weekend overseas and got named to the Olympic team January 7th.”
But actually getting to Beijing, he said, was a bit of a wild ride.
“It’s a lot of testing. Once you’re in though, it’s just kind of like a bubble, like the NBA had where we’re all in the village and you’re not leaving the village,” he said.
Now settled in China, DiGregorio was not at a loss for words when describing his love of the sport.
“When I was younger, it was like a roller coaster that you can control, and as I’ve grown with the sport, I really love the competitive side of it. It’s just a transition to the love of perfection you can have in the sport, where you never really will have that perfect run. So you’re always chasing something,” he said.
Mary is GBH radio’s Nightside news anchor, has worked on-air in Boston radio newsrooms for more than 30 years and says she has loved every minute of it. Mary has won numerous news awards for field, investigative and feature reporting. She has 4 children, is an avid Boston sports fan and gets to Nantucket every chance she gets!

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