Wise defends SuperPipe gold
ASPEN, Colo. -- Buoyed by the first back-to-back double cork 1260s in competition history, David Wise defended his Ski SuperPipe title and led an American podium sweep on a historic Friday night at X Games Aspen.
Wise posted both of the night's top scores, 94.66 and 95.66, before enjoying a victory lap on his final run. He held off 17-year-old Aspen native Torin Yater-Wallace, who posted three runs in the 90s (topped by his third-run 93.00) to claim his third medal in three years. But he couldn't match Wise's degree of difficulty.
In addition to Wise's double cork 1260s -- landed in both his natural and unnatural spinning directions, a combo he first landed four years ago before tabling it until this week -- the Reno, Nev., native also landed a switch double cork 1080, one of the hardest tricks in the sport. He consistently soared more than 17 feet above the pipe walls, reaching 20 feet, 3 inches on the final trick of his winning run, an alley-oop flatspin 540.
"It's such a challenge to come out here and beat the best guys in the world," said Wise, who was cheered at the Buttermilk pipe by 10 family members and friends who drove out from Reno. "I had a run that I really wanted to do; I wanted to come out and make a statement. I came out and landed it. It's just an honor to be out here doing what I love."
The surprise of the night may have been Simon Dumont, who claimed the bronze medal while skiing in his 11th consecutive X Games final. It came eight years after he won his second of back-to-back gold medals in the same pipe, and he did so despite skiing without poles due to lingering effects from wrist surgery in December. He brought back memories from his glory days when he popped more than 19 feet out of the pipe on each of his first two hits Friday.
Wise's win made it 11 straight years that either a U.S. or French skier has won gold in this event. All eight skiers in Friday's final were from those two nations, with the top French finisher being 2010 and 2011 champ Kevin Rolland, who finished fourth.
Rolland was followed by X Games Aspen rookie Joffrey Pollet-Villard, who posted the night's biggest air when he peaked at 23 feet, 2 inches on an alley-oop flatspin 540 Japan.