Winter Olympics 2018: USA's David Wise wins gold, Alex Ferreira bags silver in ski halfpipe
Wise dropped an epic third run for the gold after losing a ski on his first two runs
All David Wise needed was a good screwdriver. The defending Olympic ski halfpipe champion lost a ski on both of his first two runs in Thursday's men's final in South Korea, but after tightening up one of his bindings, Wise tightened up the rest of the field with an epic third run in Phoenix Snow Park that held up for gold.
Wise, of Reno, Nev., held off his Team USA teammate Alex Ferreira of Aspen, Colo., who kept improving his score with each trip down the pipe but wound up with silver with a score of 96.40. Nico Porteous, a 16-year-old from New Zealand, was happy to let his second -run score stand and got the bronze.
Wise's run was one giant hucking spin cycle. He started off with a switch double-corked 1080, then threw a double-corked 1260, another switch double-corked 1080 and finished with another double-corked 1260.
If that sounds like Korean to you, here's a breakdown: Wise landed four off-kilter double flips in all four directions -- front left, front right, switch (backward) left and switch right, accomplishing a goal he set for himself for Pyeongchang. His highest trick measured some 17.8 feet out of the 24-foot tall pipe walls.
Ferreira got some of the biggest air of any competitor, throwing five double-corked tricks of his own, but his best run wasn't as technical as Wise's masterpiece.
So, yeah, it was all kinds of crazy in the stunt ditch. Also crazy? Two massive crashes. Torin Yater-Wallace, Ferreira's good friend from Aspen, went huge on his third run with a double cork 1260, but caught the coping on the top of the pipe, and went head over heels down the pipe wall. He skied off, but finished off the podium. French skier Kevin Rolland suffered a near-similar fate when he caught the top lip of the pipe with his right ski, straddled the coping, then went tumbling down the wall.
The halfpipe has been nothing but a gold mine for Team USA at these Olympics. Wise's gold its the United States' seventh in Pyeongchang, five of which have come at Phoenix Snow Park. Chloe Kim and Shaun White won snowboard halfpipe gold last week, and Red Gerard and Jamie Anderson won at snowboard slopestyle.
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