After crashing his first two runs, David Wise decided there was nothing left to lose when he stood atop a halfpipe that had sent one-third of the 12 skiers limping off with injuries, facing an all-or-nothing run after his ski bindings had failed him in his two previous trips down, reports the ChicagoTribune
“We cranked my bindings up as high as they would go,” Wise said. “We’re like, ‘You know what, my leg’s coming off before the ski does.'”
David Wise, a former Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows team racer, put down the most difficult, technically precise run ever seen in the sport of halfpipe skiing. He scored a 97.2 to edge out his Olympic roommate and fellow American, Alex Ferreira, by .8 points to win his second straight Olympic gold medal.
He and Ferreira gave Team USA its fifth and sixth medals in the halfpipe.
Spinning in an unnatural direction in the halfpipe, as U.S. coach Mike Jankowski put it, “is like throwing a baseball with your left hand if you’re right-handed.
“We’re defined as warriors,” Wise said. “We ski the halfpipe. Halfpipe is definitely the most dangerous version of freeskiiing, by a fair bit.”
Wise normally sets his bindings on 14, locked in tight enough to shred a knee, or an entire leg, if they get torqued up in a crash. On the last run, he cranked the settings to 18; as high as they would go.
“He’s had this run in mind for several years,” Jankowski said. “It took every bit of what he had — tons of falls and crashes and knocks along the way — but he’s been visualizing this moment. And he’s been visualizing doing it when it’s all on the line, for years.”