PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – The sagging American medal table received a boost from the men’s halfpipe skiing team Thursday, as David Wise won gold and Alex Ferreira took silver at Phoenix Snow Park.
Wise, 27, won gold in halfpipe skiing’s debut at the Sochi Games and returned from a concussion and back problems to defend his medal with a clutch third run. After problems with his skis in his first two runs – his right fell off to torpedo his first and his left in his second – he scored 97.20 in his last time in the pipe.
Long an outlier in the freestyle ski world, Wise married young, has two kids and has said he wants to become a pastor when he finishes skiing. While his appearance has changed since the last Olympics, going from short-cropped hair to his current locks, Wise remains the sage veteran of the team.
Ferreira, 23, was something of a late bloomer, though he entered the Olympics as the No. 1-ranked halfpipe skier in the world. He raced moguls until Olympic teammate Torin Yater-Wallace encouraged him to try freestyle skiing.
Following his first run, Ferreira whipped his right pole over his head like a helicopter blade, apropos for the high rate of spinning he did in the pipe. It was warranted: His score of 92.6 led the competition after the first round, and he held his lead with a 96.00 in the second round. His 96.40 on his final run wasn’t enough to overtake Wise.
More Olympic coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• North Korean cheerleader breaks protocol, cheers USA
• The Olympics’ worst skier might be the most inspiring
• Ivanka to represent U.S. at Olympic Closing Ceremony
• Canadian women suffer historic curling loss
• A bittersweet ending for Lindsey Vonn