A hero’s welcome: David Wise returns to Reno after clinching silver medal in Beijing Olympics – Reno Gazette Journal

Even after winning his third Olympic medal in three straight Winter Games, David Wise says it never gets old returning home.

The 31-year-old Reno native won the silver medal in the men’s freeski halfpipe final at the 2022 Winter Olympics Saturday in Beijing. He previously won gold at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi and in 2018 in Pyeongchang.

Wise was greeted at Reno-Tahoe International Airport on Monday afternoon by a few hundred cheering fans. He took photos and signed autographs for everyone who asked.

He said each time he goes to the Olympics, it feels like a new experience.

“I guess I’m still in a state of disbelief that my career has gone so well and I’ve been able to share this with the community three times,” Wise said. “It’s always my favorite part. Coming home. Sharing it with the home team.”

After “The Star-Spangled Banner” was sung upon his arrival Monday, Wise joked that he didn’t think that was allowed, considering only gold-medal winners get their anthem played at the Olympic medal ceremonies.

Wise was one of two skiers to score higher than 90 points in the finals, which featured brutal wind and cold conditions — the temperature was minus-8 degrees, and a minus-27 wind chill, to start the event at 9:30 a.m. in Beijing.

Check it out: Reno’s David Wise wins silver medal at Beijing Olympics

He posted a 90.75 after his first run, which put him in the lead for a short time. He scored a 7.75 on his second run after falling and scored a 40 on his final run.

Nico Porteous from New Zealand won the gold medal with a score of 93.00 on his first run. American Alex Ferreira nabbed bronze with a 86.75 score, also on the first run.

Wise said he weighs about 50 pounds more than most of his freeski competitors, which helps him in windy conditions.

He added that growing up in Reno and learning to ski in a variety of conditions around Lake Tahoe helps when faced with adverse weather around the world.

“On that day, when the conditions were kind of awful, I just had to embrace it and say, ‘All right, this is not what we wanted, but I’m going to do the best I can with it,’ ” Wise said Monday in Reno.

More: David Wise says pressure is off in quest for third Olympic gold medal

Wise said the Beijing Olympics were the most fun he’s had of the three Winter Games in which he’s competed. 

He shared a room with Ferreira and fellow American Birk Irving, who placed fifth in the halfpipe final, and they made vlog of their experience

“We were just doing silly things the whole time and just enjoying it,” he said. “There was a lot of negative media attention about the Olympics going in, so we had low, low expectations.

“It exceeded all of our expectations. It was so much fun.”

His family could not travel to Beijing with him, but he made cardboard cutouts of his family for his friends to hold up so he could look around and still see his wife, Alexandra, and two children.

“It’s overwhelming,” Wise said Monday. “I feel so fortunate for people to be so excited. It’s unreal to me that people care so much.”

He broke his femur in 2019, but said it is completely healed and it didn’t give him any concerns in Beijing.

Wise said he plans to continue competing next year, but could not commit to the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.

He said he planned to unveil several new tricks in Beijing, but the harsh conditions prevented that — so he will attempt them in the coming season.

“Once I do that, maybe I’ll be satisfied,” he said. “I always said I was going to quit when I was satisfied and didn’t feel like I had anything more to give, but I haven’t hit that point yet.”

Jim Krajewski covers high school and youth sports for the Reno Gazette Journal. Follow him on Twitter @RGJPreps. Support his work by subscribing to RGJ.com

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