As Men’s Halfpipe was set to start, Mother Nature decided it would toss in some weather to mix things up. The wet and heavy snow was slowing the skiers down, to the point where their normal amplitude and even trick choice was altered. With Lyman Currier getting injured, and Torin–Yater Wallace failing to make the finals, David Wise knew it was up to him to tame the slushy pipe. And he did. As Halfpipe Skiing made its entry into the Olympic Games, the world got a new understanding of what freestyle skiing means and why it draws so much attention.
Wise came into the Olympics with solid momentum. A few weeks ago he took home the Gold Medal in Aspen, during the Winter X Games. This was the third straight Gold Medal for Wise at this event. It is fair to say that Wise is at the top of his game right now and he has a great support system that keeps him level. Before the competition his wife handed him a rock from Nevada. It didn’t seem like much, but it represented a piece of home for him when they were so far away in Sochi. She watched from the base of the pipe as David skied into Olympic History. Although their 2-year-old daughter was not in attendance, his wife held a blown up picture of her to give him that extra boost of encouragement. Wise was one of the few competitors to throw a double cork in the conditions, which inevitably helped his score. As the event came to a close, Wise landed at the top, and he would take home the first ever Gold Medal in Olympic Halfpipe Skiing. Wise was the only American to make the podium, with Canadian Mike Riddle taking Silver and Kevin Rolland claiming bronze.
Wise is not only excited about walking away with Gold, but what the Olympics mean for the sport. Skiers have sat back and watch as snowboarding was entered in, leaving skiers to wonder why their sport wasn’t good enough. Now, Wise sits on top, leading the progression of the sport with command. Out of 20 U.S. Medals so far in these Olympics, 11 are owed to snowboarding and freeskiing, (5 Gold, 2 Silver, and 4 Bronze). It just goes to show how the Olympics are changing. With the embrace of action sports there is a new feel, new crowd, and new excitement to the Olympic Games and these athletes are here for the inception.