- David Wise, high above the deck in a qualifying run this morning. Photo courtesy of the NY Times
David Wise earned the gold medal this morning in the first Olympic skier halfpipe competition at Sochi. David’s score of 92 was fantastic, given the extremely challenging snowy weather today. Wise, from Reno, spent 7 seasons on the Alpine Meadows Freestyle Team. Way to go David!
- Wise, minutes after learning he had secured the gold medal at Sochi.
Wise has earned several nicknames over the years, including “the Undude” and “the father of the halfpipe.” David is clearly not your typical young male bro in the world of freeskiing. He’s married and the father of one. Sure that sets him apart from the crowd. But having watched David grow as an athlete since 2002, I instead tend to think of him as one of the most self-motivated and driven, but also coachable, athletes I have ever seen.
Wise started his ski career in racing within the Sky Tavern Junior ski program, and was quickly able to transfer that skill set to the rigors of freestyle skiing in the park, aerials, moguls and halfpipe competitions while skiing with the Alpine Meadows Freestyle Team under head coach Clay Beck. Wise was often the first athlete on the hill and the last to leave at the end of the day. Wise worked tirelessly with Beck to perfect his runs in the halfpipe, and continued to ski with AMFT, even after Alpine Meadows sold their pipe cutter to Boreal and stopped building half pipes. Wise made the move to train at Northstar after Clay Beck died in a 2008 plane crash.
Wise has earned three consecutive gold medals at the Winter X Games and was clearly a favorite for this year’s games at Sochi. Clay Beck, with the support of officials from Far West Freestyle, was instrumental in bringing the skier halfpipe event to the Olympics. As we have reported before, the Alpine Meadows Freestyle Team hosted the first FIS Nor-Am event ever in the United States in 2005. That was the first step in showing USSA that skier halfpipe was more than just another fad. It’s unfortunate that Beck was not there to see the win today. David was joined by many members of his family to celebrate many years of hard work. It’s always been that way and we expected no less at Sochi.
There’s plenty of stories out there today on David Wise. We encourage you to check out the rest of the story at the New York Times. It has some great photo sequence shots of David’s entire run. David’s former AMFT teammate Brita Sigourney will be competing in the ladies skier halfpipe competition at Sochi this Thursday. We hope to be reporting similar news!
Cross-posted by Mark from UnofficialAlpine.com