American Wise advances to finals in first-ever freestyle halfpipe
Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - American David Wise was among 12 finalists to advance to the finals in the first-ever men's freestyle halfpipe event at the Olympics.
Wise, a 3-time X Games champion and 2013 World Champion, is regarded as one of the most technically precise and stylish skiers in the sport. Wise managed a score of 88.40 points in his first run, 3.2 points behind qualifying run leader Justin Dorey of Canada.
Dorey had won the most recent World Cup event in Calgary.
Joining those two in the finals were Frenchmen Benoit Valentin, Kevin Rolland, and Thomas Krief, as well as Canadians Mike Riddle and Noah Bowman. New Zealand's Josiah Wells, Lyndon Sheehan and Beau-James Wells and Finland's Antti-Jussi Kemppainen.
Team USA's Aaron Blunck managed to nab the final spot thanks to a second run score of 72.00.
Each skier had two runs with the top-12 best single-run scores advancing to the finals.
Conditions, though, were less than ideal at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, as snow fell through most of the competitors' second runs, resulting in a bevy of wipeouts.
One of those felled by the course was American Torin Yater-Wallace, who fell on both of his runs and failed to qualify. Yater-Wallace, the silver medalist at worlds, had been one of the favorites at this event following his win in a World Cup test event here in Sochi in 2013.
Snowboarders have been using the halfpipe for their death-defying tricks since the Nagano Games back in 1998, but the decision was made in 2011 to add the ski halfpipe to the Olympic lineup for the Sochi Games.