David Wise in the Men’s Freestyle Skiing Halfpipe, Sochi Winter Olympics Photo:FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
In less than ideal conditions, David Wise (USA) rose above the rest and secured the first ever Men’s Ski Halfpipe Olympic Gold Medal.
“Words cannot express the feelings I have winning this medal,” Wise said. “The Olympics has always been viewed as a pinnacle of sports and to be here, to compete in the first ever ski halfpipe and to come away with the gold medal, it is indescribable.”
Wise is the winner of three straight Winter X Games titles, which, until now was the pinnacle achievement in the sport.
“Our sport is still so young,” Wise said. “But our sport is growing so fast and it is such a honor to be a part of the past and the future of the sport at the same time. You represent everyone who believed in you along the way. The teachers, trainers, coaches, sponsors. Everyone who thought you had a chance of being great at something is in that halfpipe with you.”
Joining Wise on the podium was Mike Riddle (CAN) and X Games silver medalist Kevin Rolland (FRA).
With three gold medals awarded so far, including a Team USA sweep in ski slopestyle, Wise’s gold adds to the success Team USA has shown in the action sport events, especially the newly added events.
“We can to Sochi knowing that Team USA Freeskiing and Snowboarding was an incredibly deep team,” Wise said. “We all were confident knowing exactly what we needed to do to succeed and everyone from the top to the bottom of the team gave it everything and we are so excited to have the success as a team together.”
For Team Canada, and many of the athletes, this competition one means a little more. In memory of Sarah Burke of Canada, the freeskiing star who died two years ago after a training accident in the halfpipe in Park City, Utah, this was the sport Burke pushed hardest to include in the Olympics.
“Without Sarah, I don’t think ski halfpipe or slopestyle would be anywhere near what it is right now,” Riddle said. “It wouldn’t be in the Olympics. She had a massive impact and she’s been on my mind a lot this week.”
David Wise (USA) – 92.00
Mike Riddle (CAN) – 90.60
Kevin Rolland (FRA) – 88.60
Jossi Wells (NZL) – 85.60
Noah Bowman (CAN) – 82.60
Beau-James Wells (NZL) – 80.00
Aaron Blunck (USA) – 79.40
Antii-Jussi Kemppainen (FIN) – 78.20
Lyndon Sheehan (NZL) – 72.60
Benoit Valentin (FRA) – 61.00
Thomas Krief (FRA) – 28.60
Justin Dorey (CAN) – 20.40