After David Wise Competes for Third Halfpipe Gold, He Wants to Take on a New Olympic Sport: Archery

David Wise
David Wise

Partick Smith/Getty Images David Wise

He's done this all before — twice, actually.

Freestyle skier David Wise is the reigning gold medalist in the men's halfpipe, winning in both Sochi in 2014 and PyeongChang in 2018. Now, he's trying to snag another medal, and his podium chances are good: heading into the final, Friday night (Eastern), all four American freeskiers have qualified. Wise qualified in fourth.

Should he medal again, Wise, now 31, predicts an "immense feeling of satisfaction."

"If I was to land the run that I'm hoping to land and end up anywhere on the podium, the feeling of satisfaction is just going to be immense," he tells PEOPLE in an interview conducted ahead of his first run. "Everybody's overcome a lot to get to this place, to make the Olympic team, to not get COVID at the wrong time, et cetera, et cetera. But in 2019, I shattered my femur. So the journey back from that traumatic injury ... it's been a battle."

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Things are different this time around, overall, though. He sees his veteran status as an advantage — he's more accustomed to dealing with the pressure that comes with competing at the Olympic level. There's muscle memory to it.

"I've dealt with this before, and you just take it one day at a time," he explains. "In terms of how I've progressed as an athlete ... the more mature I've gotten in my career, the more I've realized that I want to do things that aren't just good for me, they're good for the sport. That's really uplifting."

Part of that has been mentoring the younger generation of skiers coming behind him — giving advice, sharing his own mistakes and successes, etc.

"I would say adding the mentorship role to this journey this time around has really decreased pressure on me because now I feel like I'm not just going as an individual, but I'm going with this handful of athletes that are also part of my team," he tells PEOPLE. "If things don't go super well for me, but the other athletes that I'm coaching on the mental strength side do well and they crush it, I feel like I still get a win out of that, at least a personal win."

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And now, as he nears the end of his skiing career, Wise admits he's focused on what could be next. He has an idea, too: "I want to try to go to the Olympics for archery in 2028, and maybe I'll pull it off."

Wise says he got into archery after the 2014 Games to help deal with the stress of the sudden rise in attention he experienced with his gold medal-win. A good friend gifted him a bow, and he "fell in love" with the sport.

"Ever since then, I've been using my bow to go out and hunt, and bring home meat for the family, and all this cool stuff," He explains. "But, somewhere along the way, I just fell in love with setting ridiculous goals and seeing if I can pull them off. ... I'm like, 'Well, I will never know if I could have done that, if I didn't try.' So I have to try."

To learn more about Team USA, visit Watch the Winter Olympics, now, and the Paralympics, beginning March 4, on NBC.