Wise captures first-ever gold in freestyle halfpipe
Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - American David Wise won the first-ever Olympic gold medal on Tuesday in the men's freestyle halfpipe event.
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.
And fittingly, it was the 23-year-old Wise who walked away with the top prize.
Widely regarded as the most technically sound and stylish skier in the sport, the 3-time reigning X Games champion nailed double corks on both walls of his first run in the final round for a high score of 92.0.
However, Wise, who was second after the qualification round, fell on his second run through, but it wouldn't matter as the best of his two scores was counted.
Canadian Mike Riddle nabbed the silver with a score of 90.60 points, while Frenchman Kevin Rolland, who finished second to Wise in the most recent X Games, finished two points behind Riddle to capture the bronze.
Conditions continued to be less than ideal at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, as snow fell through the final round causing a bevy of wipeouts, including current world No. 1 Justin Dorey of Canada.
Dorey, who won the most recent World Cup event, led after the qualification round, but fell on both of his runs in the final round.
Team USA's Aaron Blunck finished seventh with 79.40 points.