David Wise waited until his last chance, but the American pulled out a gold medal repeat in the men’s ski halfpipe event at the Pyeongchang Olympics on Thursday morning.
The 27-year-old from Nevada had two unsuccessful runs before he earned his winning score of 97.20 on his third and final run.
"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," Wise said. "I'm honestly just in disbelief right now. Winning, losing, whatever, just the fact that I landed that run in the moment when it needed to happen, on that third run, just felt so good."
The ski halfpipe event debuted at the Sochi 2014 Olympics when Wise earned a gold medal in his Olympic debut.
“I'm a spiritual person and I believe that everything happens for a reason," he said. "I said, 'OK, if God wants me to do well in this event, then I'm going to be able to land this run. If he doesn't, it's all good, I'm moving on.' So I dropped in and did the run that I knew how to do."
Wise had the support of his daughter, 6, and son, 3, who came to Pyeongchang to support him.
"Nayeli didn't get to go to Russia, so she was watching from home. Here she is now, she's 6 years old," Wise said. "My 3-year-old is around here somewhere. It's such an honor to be out here competing, doing what I love, and having them here to support me. It's amazing."
Wise’s teammate, Alex Ferreira from Colorado, also earned a medal in the halfpipe event. Ferreira won the silver medal with a score of 96.40 while New Zealand’s Nico Porteous got third place with 94.80. This is the 23-year-old Ferreira’s first Olympics.
"I just woke up feeling good today," Ferreira said. "[My] main rule: Never give up. Never leave anything on the table, never let anything down. Always rise to potential, always rise to the occasion."
Ferreira also talked about the hard work he put in preparing for the Olympics.
"Five days a week in the gym, five days a week in the steam room, five days a week on the trampoline, two times a week in the sports psychologist, three times a week for PT [physical therapy] -- every single day of my life," he said. "I couldn't do it without my team."
Ferreira was also able to share his experience with family and friends.
"I'm fired up, baby. I'm so stoked, I'm so happy for my family to come out and all my best friends, for something so magical," he said. "I'll never forget it. I'm unbelievably pumped, I'm elated."