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David Wise Wins Gold Medal in Men's Halfpipe Freestyle Skiing at 2014 Olympics

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07:  Freestyle Skier David Wise of the United States attends a press conference ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Main Press Center (MPC) at  on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images
Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIFebruary 18, 2014

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.

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.

Men's Ski Halfpipe Final
PlaceSkierCountryScore
1David WiseUnited States92.00
2Mike RiddleCanada90.60
3Kevin RollandFrance88.60
4Josiah WellsNew Zealand85.60
5Noah BowmanCanada82.60
6Beau-James WellsNew Zealand80.00
7Aaron BlunckUnited States79.40
8Antti-Jussi KemppainenFinland78.20
9Lyndon SheehanNew Zealand72.60
10Benoit ValentinFrance61.00
Sochi2014.com

Wise shared a photo of his view from the competition on his Twitter account:

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.

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