The day of the Olympic halfpipe skiing qualifiers in February, it seemed nothing was going David Wise’s way.
Wise crashed on his first run, putting the pressure on his second effort to reach the finals and defend his gold medal from the 2014 Olympics.
“When I crashed on my first run I was like ‘Man, is this really how this Olympic experience is going to go? Four years of preparation and I’m going to maybe not make finals,’ ” Wise said.
“My goal that day was to land that run with all four directions and double corks. Once I did that, I remember skiing up to the camera and just screaming ‘That’s game over,’” Wise said. “In spite of what the judges think, no matter if I win or lose, I did my job.”
Wise turned in a 97.20, edging out American Alex Ferreira.
Afterward, he was joined on the podium by his wife, Alexandra, 6-year-old daughter Nayeli and 3-year-old son Malachi.
Last time around, Nayeli stayed home and Malachi wasn’t born yet. This time, Wise booked their tickets before he even knew he was going to be in the Olympics.
“I was like ‘If I go to the Olympics, this time my family’s going no matter what,’ so having them be there to support me and being able to hold them up on the podium at the end of the day was absolutely the best experience of my whole career,” said Wise.
Since the Olympics, Wise has spent about a week at home in Reno, running from one stop to the next.
Wise spent a night at home, then went to Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, home again for a couple nights and then Europe for an extended period of time.
He was in Las Vegas briefly and this week will head to Washington D.C. to visit the White House as part of Team USA and also speak to Congress.
He also recently released a book, “Very Bear and the Butterfly,” based on a story about himself and his wife that he made up to tell his daughter.
“I feel like I spent most of my life and career seeking glory and fame and success and not really noticing how fortunate I was or how much beauty I had around me other than skiing. Once my wife entered my life, it just changed my perspective completely, which actually made me a better skier because I was no longer pressuring myself to be successful,” Wise said.
And with all the pressure off, Wise now has two Olympic gold medals to his name.
“I don’t feel pressure the same way everybody else does,” Wise said. “Everybody else feels like they have something to prove. They’re out there to do their sense of fulfillment is defined by success. My sense of fulfillment is defined by my family.”