David Wise became the first-ever Olympic halfpipe skiing champion Tuesday night, winning gold at the sport’s debut at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. (Getty Images/AFP/Javier Soriano)
ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Feb. 18) – David Wise (Reno, NV) became the first-ever Olympic halfpipe skiing champion Tuesday night, winning gold at the sport’s debut at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. Heavy snow didn’t slow down Wise, as he put down an unbeatable run in the first round and scored a 92.00 ahead of silver winner Mike Riddle of Canada and Kevin Rolland of France in bronze. The halfpipe skiing debut will be featured on NBC’s Primetime Olympic coverage at 8:00 p.m. EST Tuesday, and every ounce of the halfpipe action can be streamed on NBCOlympics.com. The women take on their first-ever Olympic halfpipe skiing final on Thursday Feb. 20.
David Wise (Reno, NV) became the first-ever Olympic halfpipe skiing champion Tuesday night, winning gold at the sport’s debut at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
Heavy snow falling in halfpipe at the Rosa Khutor venue didn’t slow down Wise, and he put down an unbeatable run in the first round that scored him a 92.00.
Aaron Blunck (Crested Butte, CO) was the only other U.S. athlete to advance to the historic final, where he pulled out a seventh-place finish in the stacked competition.
Filling out the podium were Mike Riddle of Canada with silver and Kevin Rolland of France took with bronze.
Justin Dorey of Canada was the top qualifier going into the final, but Wise was able to pull out in front of Dorey during the final.
The wet, falling snow certainly had an effect on the athletes’ speed in the halfpipe, but many were able to manage it effectively, keeping their momentum through the transitions and adjusting the type and sequence of tricks in their runs.
Unfortunately, Team USA athletes Torin Yater-Wallace (Basalt, CO) and Lyman Currier (Boulder, CO) did not qualify for the final.
The halfpipe skiing debut will be featured on NBC’s Primetime Olympic coverage at 8:00 p.m. EST Tuesday, and every ounce of the halfpipe action can be streamed on NBCOlympics.com.
Next up, the women take their turn at the first-ever women’s Olympic halfpipe skiing final on Thursday Feb. 20.
QUOTES David Wise It’s amazing. It’s always rough when the conditions aren’t perfect and you don’t get to do the runs that you were hoping to do. I’ve had a Sochi run on my mind for a long time that I really wanted to throw down tonight, but you guys will just have to wait to see that one. I’m really proud of freeskiing tonight. The riders all came out, stepped it up and put on a good show in spite of the rough conditions. I’m happy to have landed my run and it’s an amazing honor.
Justin Dorey is one of the best skiers in the world. He’s got both double corks, and after he landed his first double cork I was like, here we go! So the pressure was definitely on and I feel very fortunate to have survived for that for sure.
It’s been a long road for freeskiing to get into the Olympics at all, and I’ve been a part of it for a long time, trying to get the recognition we need to get into the Olympics. First of all, hearing the announcement was a huge accomplishment for me in my life. Now to be here participating was a second huge accomplishment, and to be representing as the first-ever gold medalist in freeski halfpipe is amazing. I just want people to be excited about freeskiing. I think it’s cool. It’s exciting. It’s really unique and I just want more people to ski.
Aaron Blunck That was the most nerve-wracking time in my life, I think. I was just sitting there up top, wasn’t talking, had my face mask over my mouth, kept closing my eyes and just hoping for the best but kind of expecting the worst. I’m stoked that I even made finals and to get seventh place, it was just awesome.
The snow is sticky. It’s humid here so it’s definitely something we’re not really used to after competing in Colorado and Utah all the time. We’re used to that dry, fluffy snow when it snows, that stuff that you can clear out and still get speed. We’re all dealing with the same thing, though. I think you’ve got to approach it with a good attitude and just go out and have fun.
David has been skiing almost better than anyone else here. So it’s been awesome to see. He charges every day, every night. It’s awesome for a guy to come out and have his family behind him.
It’s been the experience of a lifetime. I didn’t really think 2014 was possible a couple years ago, and then all of a sudden last year I thought, ‘This is kind of possible!’ Now it’s just been a dream come true. I’ve just been taking everything in.