David Wise's aerial acrobatics won him the gold medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics' men's halfpipe freestyle skiing event on Tuesday in Sochi, Russia.
American David Wise wins the first gold in Olympic halfpipe skiing history.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 18, 2014
The 23-year-old Reno, Nev., native posted a score of 92.00 to make it to the top of the podium. Mike Riddle of Canada and Kevin Rolland of France rounded out the rest of those who managed medals in the competition.
|1||David Wise||United States||92.00|
|4||Josiah Wells||New Zealand||85.60|
|6||Beau-James Wells||New Zealand||80.00|
|7||Aaron Blunck||United States||79.40|
|9||Lyndon Sheehan||New Zealand||72.60|
Wise shared a photo of his view from the competition on his Twitter account:
And the Olympics are on! It's dumping snow, but is stomped a solid first run when it was kinda fast. On to finals! pic.twitter.com/mQkcQqGxNW— David Wise (@mrDavidWise) February 18, 2014
This is the first time halfpipe skiing has been featured at the Winter Olympics, and it's fitting that the precocious Wise took home the top prize. He had won the superpipe competition in the Winter X Games in each of the past three years and captured the halfpipe gold at the 2013 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships.
With that type of track record, Wise was a favorite in this inaugural event but still had to deal with the pressure of high expectations and the unprecedented grandeur of the Olympic stage at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
The way Wise carries himself, and his unique approach to competition, served him well in Sochi. He spoke about his mindset before the Winter Games and implied that he thrived rather than wilted in the spotlight, per Lauren Gustus of the Reno Gazette-Journal:
When I first won the X Games, I wrote on my jacket, "embrace the opportunity," with a paint marker so that I would remind myself every time before I dropped in. It’s not about winning or losing or what people think of you. It’s about you going out and doing what you love to do, your art. You have an opportunity. So just go. Embrace it. So, yeah, I always look at that before I drop in. And then I drop.
Wise certainly embraced his opportunity in Sochi, laying down an excellent run to secure another sensational finish and lay the groundwork for a building legacy in an extreme sport that is gaining momentum after its Olympic debut.
Comparisons to prolific American snowboarder Shaun White should be made now that Wise has delivered a gold medal in these Winter Games and has so thoroughly dominated the X Games scene in his past few appearances.
Look for that trend of X Games prowess to continue, along with whatever other events Wise decides to compete in. All he's done is win in his young career, and his resume now includes an Olympic gold. With White failing to medal in Sochi and Wise progressively bursting onto the scene, it's feasible that Wise will become the next USA extreme sports superstar.