David Wise of U.S. wins inaugural Olympic gold for ski halfpipe

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A stellar first run of 92.00 points was enough to give world champion David Wise (pictured) the first-ever Olympic gold medal in men’s ski halfpipe.

The 23-year-old American hit the deck right after he started his second and last run, potentially opening the door for Canada’s Justin Dorey, the No. 1-ranked halfpipe skier in the world.

But Dorey, who had clipped the deck himself on his opening run, fell for a second time to give Wise the gold.

Dorey’s Canadian teammate, Mike Riddle, hit a pair of double cork 1260s on his second run to earn a 90.60 and the silver, while Frenchman Kevin Rolland’s first run of 88.60 landed him the bronze.

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Going into Sochi, Wise won two of the five Olympic qualifier events to secure his place on the Olympic team and also earned his third consecutive X Games halfpipe gold medal last month.

Last fall, the New York Times dubbed him “the un-dude” for standing out as a more clean-cut figure compared to prototypical action sports competitors. He is a devoted husband and father of a two-year-old daughter, and he also works with his wife in running the youth group at their church in Reno, Nevada.

Now, he’ll stand out even further from his peers as an inaugural Olympic champion.

The second American in the final, 17-year-old Aaron Blunck, finished seventh with a second-run score of 79.40.

MEN’S FREESTYLE SKIING – HALFPIPE FINAL
1. David Wise (USA), 92.00
2. Mike Riddle (CAN), 90.60
3. Kevin Rolland (FRA), 88.60
4. Josiah Wells (NZL), 85.60
5. Noah Bowman (CAN), 82.60
6. Beau-James Wells (NZL), 80.00
7. Aaron Blunck (USA), 79.40
8. Antti-Jussi Kemppainen (FIN), 78.20
9. Lyndon Sheehan (NZL), 72.60
10. Benoit Valentin (FRA), 61.00
11. Thomas Krief (FRA), 28.60
12. Justin Dorey (CAN), 20.40