David Wise Poised for All-Time Great Career After Halfpipe Gold at Sochi

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2014

Gold medalist David Wise of the United States gets air during the men's ski halfpipe final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Andy Wong/Associated Press

Shaun White may have failed to medal in the snowboard halfpipe at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, but a new American star was born in the skiing counterpart.

David Wise, who, much like White, was considered the favorite heading into the event, delivered in the face of immense pressure and took home the gold in the skiing halfpipe. Even though he fell on his second run in the finals, his pace-setting score of 92 in the first run was good enough to land atop the podium.

There were some tense moments, especially as Canadian Justin Dorey went for gold after Wise fell, but Wise was the best skier in the event.

Canada’s Mike Riddle and France’s Kevin Rolland took home the silver and bronze respectively.

The top five finishers and their scores were as follows:

2014 Winter Olympics Freestyle Skiing: Men's Halfpipe
1David WiseUnited States92
2Mike RiddleCanada90.6
3Kevin RollandFrance88.6
4Jossi WellsNew Zealand85.6
5Noah BowmanCanada82.6


Wise’s performance could have been even better were it not for the wet conditions that led to heavy snow and a slow pipe. He did land the rightside double cork 360 but wasn’t able to put on quite the show he hoped for, as he said in comments passed along by Lindsay H. Jones and Rachel Axon of the USA Today:

I was really hoping for a good, clean, fast halfpipe tonight so we could really put on a show, but honestly I'm proud of all the guys here, because everyone threw down, regardless. While I am a little disappointed I didn't get to do my epic Sochi run that I wanted to do, it was a big night for freeskiing.

Wise is no stranger to success.

He won his first U.S. National title at the ripe age of 15 before turning professional at 18, but he became a dominant force in 2012 when he won the Winter X Games, The Dew Tour Finals and The Grand Prix finals consecutively.


He was even better in 2013, when he once again won the gold at the X Games, won the FIS World Championships, won the silver at Euro Winter X Games, won the Grand Prix finals and earned his sixth U.S. National title.

Perhaps most incredibly, he is only 23 years old.

Even at a young age, Wise’s affection for his family is well-documented and is one of the first things commentators always mention. As he expressed on Twitter after the golden race, he plans on bringing his medal back to his daughter:

Sergei Grits/Associated Press

Looking ahead, it’s difficult to imagine anyone topping Wise in the near future.

The momentum that he has established at the biggest events in all of freestyle skiing will not slow down as he enters the prime of his life. There are a number of quality competitors from Canada and the United States, but Wise is performing at a historically great level.

Andy Wong/Associated Press

He is at the top of his sport and the face of halfpipe skiing at the young age of 23. His resume is incredible, and the argument can be made that Wise is already an all-time great in his discipline.

If he’s not there yet, he is certainly on the fast track.


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