The United States’ David Wise produced a stunning final run to successfully defend his Olympic halfpipe title at Pyeongchang 2018.
The 27-year-old failed to land jumps in his first two runs, registering point scores of 17.00 and 6.40, but he posted 97.20 for his last attempt to beat compatriot Alex Ferreira to the gold medal at Phoenix Park.
Ferreira’s third-run score of 96.40 points was not enough to overtake Wise, but it ensured him the silver medal in the 11-man event.
Wise becomes only the second athlete to win two gold medals in freestyle skiing, following in the footsteps of Canada’s Alexandre Bilodeau who triumphed in men’s moguls at Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014.
“Today was just an amazing day of halfpipe skiing,” he said.
“Seeing Alex land his runs, all three runs, and the qualification that he did, just inspired me.
“I really wanted to land a run.
“I walked out of a ski twice.
“For both runs I walked out of a ski.
“Not really a mistake I made, but it was just unfortunate, so I had to put it all down on the third run, and I pulled it off.”
New Zealand’s Nico Porteous registered 94.80 points in his second run to take the bronze.
It gave his country its second medal in the space of two hours, after Zoi Sadowski Synnott took bronze in the women’s big air snowboard event.
New Zealand had previously won only one Winter Olympic medal through Alpine skier Annelise Coberger, who claimed silver in the women’s slalom at Albertville 1992.
At 16 years old, Porteous becomes the youngest medalist in freestyle skiing at the Winter Olympics.
Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud had been the youngest when she won silver here in the women’s slopestyle, aged 18 years and nine days.
“I’m pretty confused about what’s going on,” Porteous said.
“I just can’t believe it.
“I was just so proud of my skiing today, and that’s why in the third run I just didn’t have anything left in the bag.”
Porteous’ compatriot Byron Wells was ruled out of the final after suffering a leg injury in practice.
Freestyle skiing medal action at Pyeongchang 2018 is due to conclude tomorrow, when the women’s ski cross event is scheduled.
By Daniel Etchells
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.