The David Wise fan club.

Words & photos: Ethan Stone

"No photos! No photos!" The volunteer is waving her hands in front of my lens, blocking my shot of the ceremony as David Wise mounts the podium as skiing's first Olympic halfpipe gold medalist, flanked by Mike Riddle in the second-place position to his right, and Kevin Rolland to his left in third.

I'm in the "mixed media" zone, which means that I'm not allowed to shoot photos--but as any decent journalist knows, at events it's not about what you're allowed to do, but what you can get away with. I've been having no problem up until now either sneaking up to the great angles in the coaches' section, or surreptitiously snapping away photos from the mixed media zone. But now they've got my number.

This photo of AJ Kempainnen was shot from a location unauthorized by the IOC. Suckers.

"This is the fourth time we've caught you shooting photos," the volunteer informs me pertly. "You know, we're supposed to kick you out." Thankfully though, they let me stay to grab a few audio interviews, provided my camera is tucked away underneath my jacket. God forbid I bring it out again; I'd probably end up in the gulag.

Camera safely stowed, I'm able to grab some interviews with competitors, who can describe the night's events more poignantly than me. First up: Matt Margetts.

Margetts put down a clean run in the qualifiers despite terrible conditions, but couldn't break into the finals.

"Two years in a row we had bad weather competing here," says Margetts--referencing last year's test event. "I hope it didn't make skiing halfpipe look too bad, because that was a big bummer to have weather like this after it's been sunny and beautiful and warm the past two weeks."

"I could not be more stoked for Mike Riddle to get second. I really wish Bone had landed his run, because he could have topped that podium."

Next up for an interview: Jossi Wells, who together with his brother Beau-James (Byron watched from the sidelines tonight with a leg injury sustained during practice) put on a style clinic that won't be quickly forgotten.

This single photo almost got me kicked out of the venue. Thanks, Jossi.

"I came fourth, and that's kind of the worst place to get in the Olympics," Jossi says. "It's so close, but so far away. I skied the best I've ever skied in halfpipe tonight. Those are the best pipe runs I've ever done. Although it didn't land me on the podium, I'm really stoked on how I rode."

Jossi in the middle of another clean, stylish run. Fourth place ain't nothin' to scoff at, bud.

I ask Jossi how tonight's wintry conditions affected the riders.

"It was so slow. The more it snowed, the worse it got," he answers. "It was all about landing perfectly on the transition to link your runs together."

The slippers do their best to clear out the new-fallen snow.

Shoutouts to other riders? "Shoutout to my boy Torin. Real bummed that he couldn't make finals. He's my favorite pipe skier to watch. But he's like 12 years old, so he'll have like six more Olympics to go to."

Later, at the official press conference, I get the quotes from the three medalists, who are all but unreachable at the venue for those lacking adequate accreditation to get past those pesky volunteers.

Kevin Rolland alley-oop flat 3's his way into an Olympic bronze medal.

"The conditions tonight were really tough," says Kevin Rolland. "Especially for me, because I'm not that good when it's slow. My goal was to win, but I found someone who's better than me."

Mike Riddle, with his own alley-oop flat 3 bow-and-arrow, on his way to second place.

Canada rallies for Riddle.

"I tried the right double, which i was working on at our training camp in France before we came here," says Mike Riddle. "I landed it first try, and then it was game on. I'm unbelievably happy that I put my run together when it mattered."

Wise: holding it down for the back-to-back World War champs.

"I'm still trying to believe this whole crazy thing," says David Wise."Conditions tonight weren't optimal, but we had a good field of riders and I was really stoked to see everyone come out and throw down."

Wise's last-hit rightside double cork 1260 mute sealed the deal.

Rad dad at the press conference.

"I was honestly stoked to be able to even put both double corks in my run," continues Wise. "I have the switch double cork and a couple of new tricks that I haven't shown anybody yet that I really would have liked to do tonight, but the conditions just werent allowing it. So I had to look through my run and see what I could do the best considering the conditions."

Finals Runs Breakdowns

Run 1

Aaron Blunck

Right double cork 1260

Left cork 1080

Switch right 720

Alley-oop right double flatspin 900

Right cork 1080 tail

Score: 68.6

Thomas Krief

Double cork 1260 (crash)

Score: 4.6

Beau-James Wells

Left 540

Right double flair safety (hip check)

Left cork 900

Right 720

Switch 720 stale

Score: 62.0

AJ Kempainnen

Switch left 900

Switch right 720

Double flair safety

Right cork 900 tail

Left cork 900 tail

Right double flair

Score: 74.4

Lyndon Sheehan

Switch left 720

Right 540

Left cork 900

Right cork 900

Left cork 1080

Score: 55.2

Noah Bowman

Alley-oop left 360 mute

Switch left 900

Switch left 540

Switch left 720

Right cork 720 tail

Switch left 540

Score: 80.4

Mike Riddle

Left double cork 1260

Right double cork 1260 (hip-check)

Left cork 900

Alley-oop flat 360 bow-and-arrow

Switch 900

Switch left 540

Score: 71.4

Jossi Wells

Left double cork 1260

Right cork 900

Left double flair

Right 720

Switch 1080 (afterbang)

Score: 85.6

Kevin Rolland

Left double cork 1080 safety

Switch right 720

Left double cork 1260 mute

Alley-oop left flat 360 safety

Switch 720

Score: 88.6 (Bronze medal run)

Benoit Valentin

Flair

Alley-oop flat 540 (HUGE: washes out)

Score: 10.0

David Wise

Right cork 900 tail

Left double cork 1260 mute

Right 720 leading mute

Switch 720 japan

Right double cork 1260 mute

Score: 92.0 (Godl medal run)

Justin Dorey

Right double cork 1260

Left 720

Switch right 720

Left double cork 1260 (crash on the coping)

Score: 20.4

Run 2

Aaron Blunck

Right double cork 1260 mute

Left cork 1080

Switch right 1080

Right alley-oop double flat 900 japan

Right cork 1080 tail

Score: 79.4

Thomas Krief

Left double cork 1260

Alley-oop flat 360

Switch left 720

Right 900 lead mute

Left double cork 1440 (fall)

Score: 28.6

Beau-James Wells

Left 540 tweaked safety

Right double flair

Left double flair

Right cork 1080

Switch left 720 stale

Score: 80.0

AJ Kempainnen

Switch right 720

Left double flair

Right cork 900 tail

Left cork 900 tail

Right double flair

Score: 78.2

Lyndon Sheehan

Switch left 1080

Right 540

Left cork 900

Right cork 900

Left cork 1080

Score: 72.6

Noah Bowman

Alley-oop left 360 mute

Switch left 900 tail

Switch right 900

Switch left 720

Right 720 tail

Switch left cork 540

Score: 82.6

Mike Riddle

Left double cork 1260 mute

Right double cork 1260 safety

Left cork 900 japan

Alley-oop left flat 360 bow-and-arrow

Switch left 720

Score: 90.6 (Silver medal run)

Jossi Wells

Left double cork 1260

Right 900

Double flair

Right 720 tail

Switch left 1080

Score: 78.4

Kevin Rolland

Left double cork 1080 safety

Switch right 720

Left double cork 12 mute

Alley-oop flat 360 safety

Switch double (falls)

Score: 29.8

Benoit Valentin

Left flair

Alley-oop flat 540 (HUGE)

Left cork 900

Right cork 900

Double cork 1260 tail (washes out)

61.0

David Wise

Right cork 900 (decks out)

Score: 3.4

Justin Dorey - game face on

Right double cork 1260

Left cork 1080 (HUGE)

Switch right 720 (sits down on landing)

Score: 14.2


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