U.S. skiers David Wise, Alex Ferreira medal in halfpipe
Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Team USA skiers David Wise and Alex Ferreira claimed respective silver and bronze medals in the 2022 Winter Games freestyle skiing halfpipe final Saturday in Zhangjiakou, China. New Zealand's Nico Porteous won gold.
Porteous totaled a 93 on his first run at Genting Snow Park H&S Stadium. Wise -- the back-to-back defending Olympic champion -- and Ferreira also recorded their highest scores on their first of three runs.
Wise posted a 90.75. Ferreira submitted an 83.75 for bronze in the final freestyle skiing event of the 2022 Winter Games. Canadian Noah Bowman placed fourth. Team USA's Birk Irving and Aaron Blunck placed fifth and seventh, respectively.
"I'm currently over the moon," Porteous told NBC. "I still can't really believe it. The weather conditions were tough today.
"But I stomped what I knew and tried my best and left everything out there and -- it's so freezing cold right now, I'm lost for words."
The athletes battled swirling winds as they took aggressive angles and attempted ambitious flips and spins on the halfpipe. Many of the top competitors face planted after their first runs.
Porteous' gold medal run featured clean back-to-back double cork 1620s in both directions. He soared more than 12.5 feet above the snowed structure during the performance.
Wise started his run with a switch 900 into a double cork and finished with back-to-back 1260s. He went more than 15 feet above the course and held onto first place until Porteous' run.
Ferreira did a 1440 followed by a switch double court and went more than 14 feet above the course.
"I'm ecstatic," Ferreira told NBC. "The hardest workers get up on the podium and David Wise is a great friend of mine. He's a good person.
"Nico a good friend of mine. He inspires me. Sometimes the universe has other plans for you and you have to adapt as we do."
Porteous won bronze in the event at the 2018 Winter Games. Wise and Ferreira won respective gold and silver medals that year in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Wise also won the event in 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
Porteous' victory pushed New Zealand's medal total to three in Beijing, the most in history for the country at a single Winter Games. Wise and Ferreira's silver and bronze finishes pushed Team USA's medal total to eight in free style skiing, the most won by the country in any sport in Beijing.