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American Freestyle Skier Wins Inaugural Men's Halfpipe

David Wise, of the United States, reacts to his score after competing in the men's ski halfpipe final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. Wise won the gold medal.
David Wise, of the United States, reacts to his score after competing in the men's ski halfpipe final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. Wise won the gold medal.
VOA News
David Wise of the United States won the inaugural men's freestyle skiing halfpipe competition, in the final medals event Tuesday at the Sochi Olympics.

With heavy snow falling, Wise tallied 92 points to head a medals podium comprised of world champions.  Canadian Mike Riddle took silver and France's Kevin Rolland earned bronze.

Wise's performance lifted the U.S. into a tie with the Netherlands in total medals in Sochi with 20.  Russia has 19, Norway 18, Canada 17 and Germany 15.  

Earlier, the Dutch bolted into the medals lead with a sweep in men's 10-kilometer speedskating.  Jorrit Bergsma crossed the finish line in an Olympic record time of 12 minutes, 44.45 seconds to win gold.  He finished ahead of teammates Sven Kramer and Bob de Jong.

It was the fourth podium sweep for the Dutch at the Sochi Games.

  • Alex Deibold of the United States, Trevor Jacob of the United States and Norway's Stian Sivertzen go off a drop during the first men's snowboard cross semifinal at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Arianna Fontana of Italy, left, crashes out in the women's 3000m short track speedskating relay final at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Shim Suk-Hee of South Korea celebrates her team's first place in the women's 3000m short track speedskating relay final at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Japan's Taihei Kato breaks his left arm as he falls during the Nordic combined individual Gundersen large hill competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Czech Republic's Ondrej Moravec shoots during the men's biathlon 15k mass-start, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • France's Jason Lamy Chappuis makes his trial jump during the Nordic combined individual Gundersen large hill competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Raindrops roll down on the vinyl window of a tent at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 18, 2014.

In other medals competition Tuesday, Slovenian skier Tina Maze won her second gold in Sochi, taking first place in the women's giant slalom.  The win followed her gold medal run last week in the downhill.

France's Pierre Vaultier won gold in the men's snowboardcross, which had been postponed Monday because of heavy fog.  He was ecstatic after his victory, calling it a "miracle."

"This time I was by far the outsider. I am into miracle right now. My knee is broken, I am racing with a brace... it's just unbelievable first to be here at the Olympics and second, to be in first place.  That's great," said Vaultier.

There were three other medals events Tuesday.  Norway's Emil Hegle Svendsen narrowly beat Frenchman Martin Fourcade to win gold in the men's 15-kilometer biathlon mass start.  Norway's Joergen Graabak took gold in the men's large hill Nordic Combined and his teammate, Magnus Moan, earned silver.  South Korean speed skaters finished first in the women's 3,000-meter relay, with Canada taking silver and Italy earning bronze.  

In gold medals, Germany has the most with eight, followed by Norway with seven.  The U.S. and the Netherlands are tied with six.h.

Click here to see VOA's Winter Olympics site

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