David Wise defends title, US gets third gold halfpipe gold


David Wise

America's David Wise nailed a gold medal-winning final run Thursday to retain his Olympic title after wiping out on his first two attempts in the men's freestyle skiing halfpipe.

Then he turned in a flawless, spin-filled third and final run to live up to expectations at Phoenix Snow Park and claim the gold medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Pushing Wise the most was countryman Alex Ferreira, who almost eclipsed Wise's score of 97.2 with a trick-laden run that earned him a 96.4.

It's the seventh gold medal for the U.S.in Pyeongchang, five of which have come at Phoenix Snow Park.

It was a dream run for Wise, who landed double corks in all four directions - front left, front right, switch (backward) left and switch right. Those competitors have accounted for 10 of the country's 19 medals, many of them at the snow park located an hour away from the Gangneung Olympic Plaza.

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He was of course referring to Canada, which minutes earlier narrowly advanced to the semifinals with a 1-0 victory over Finland. To say that it has been a trying few days for South Korea's ice skaters at the Winter Olympics is probably an understatement.

Yesterday proved to be another big day for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard team, with a trio of medals won in the Men's freeski Halfpipe and Women's snowboard big air.

Ferreira made all three runs and scored 96.40 with the best of them to win silver.

Nico Porteous of New Zealand bagged the bronze with 94.80 points. He dropped his jaw and put his hands on his head when he first saw the result.

Wise, the 2013 world champion in halfpipe, most recently placed fourth at the 2017 world championships. One tightened binding later, Wise was forced to throw down something epic to join the podium with teammate Alex Ferreira, who held the lead with a 96.40.

The Americans had eyed a podium sweep in the halfpipe, with Torin Yater-Wallace and Aaron Blunck also among the favorites.

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