US skier David Wise wins gold in halfpipe
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – American David Wise won gold in the debut of freeski halfpipe in the Olympic Games on Tuesday.
The Reno native scored a 92 on his first run, putting him in first. On his second run, Wise hit the lip of the pipe on his first hit. He then had to watch and wait to find out if he won gold until Canadian Justin Dorey came down the pipe.
Dorey, however, fell midway through his run, clinching gold for Wise. Mike Riddle of Canada won silver and Kevin Rolland of France took bronze.
It was the 20th medal for the United States, which tied the Netherlands atop the overall medal count. Earlier in the day, Alex Deibold won bronze in men's snowboardcross. The U.S. team has won at least one medal every day in Sochi.
Three nations (Germany, Soviet Union and East Germany) have won a medal on every day of the Winter Olympics before, but the U.S. team has never done it, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon.
Wise, 23, came into the event heavily favored to win gold after doing so in the past three X Games. One of the best skiers in the halfpipe, Wise is first in the Association of Freeskiing Professionals rankings.
The Reno native was the first skier to qualify for the U.S. team, winning two of the first three qualifiers to lock up a spot.
Wise saw his American teammates Lyman Currier and Torin Yater-Wallace fail to advance out of qualifying. Both fell on their first runs.
On his second run, Currier landed his trick but ended in the sitting position with his body twisted. Medical personnel went up the halfpipe, but after a few moments Currier skied down.
The 19-year-old found his father in the crowd and, sobbing, told him, "It popped." After spending several minutes being consoled by his father, David, who was a former ski racer and made the Olympics at 19, Currier limped off in tears.
He had previously torn his anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and meniscus. He competed in the World Cup test event here in Feb. 2013, just seven months after surgery to repair the knee.
Yater-Wallace, meanwhile, scored only a 39.00 on his second run after landing backseat at the end and failed to advance.