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US freestyler Wise tops ski halfpipe podium packed with champions

18/02/2014

World champion David Wise of the USA added Olympic gold to his burgeoning trophy collection with an impressive victory in the men's ski halfpipe competition.

Wise overcame tough conditions at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, against a backdrop of heavy snow, to score 92.00 points and head up a podium made up entirely of world champions.

Canada’s Mike Riddle (90.60), the man Wise deposed as world champion, took silver, with the man who had held the title before that, YOG ambassador Kevin Rolland (88.60) of France earning the bronze. 

 

Wise said that he had modified his programme to suit the conditions. "I had all these crazy amazing runs that I wanted to do here… I had to change my run,” he explained.

“The run I competed was like plan C or D even but that's just the way it goes, you've got to adjust and do the best you can.”

He was in fact being slightly modest. Wise threw down the most eye-catching tricks of the final, opening with a 720-degree spin, and finding heights off the sides of the pipe that his rivals struggled to match.

Wise had been second behind Canadian Justin Dorey in qualifying and had to endure a nervous last few moments after his second run in the final, waiting for the last man to come down.

He had led after his first run in the final, which he capped off with a right double cork 1260 mute, but knew that Dorey could influence the colour of his medal with his second run.

Ultimately, a mistake cost the Canadian dearly, and he ended up finishing last of the 12 finalists.

“That was really nerve racking,” admitted Wise. “I knew the right-side double cork was something that was definitely there and he had it to boost the score up."

Meanwhile, Riddle may have missed out on gold but he was nonetheless delighted, not least because he managed to throw down a combination of tricks that he had never previously managed.

“It's unbelievable. I put down a good run in what were difficult conditions. I knew I had a chance,” he said. “I have never done that combination before, back to back dub (double cork) 1260s, but I decided it was a good time to do it for the first time.

“It has taken lots of work and a lifetime dedicated to skiing to get here.”

Sochi 2014 photos

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