- Freestyle Skiing
The many lives of halfpipe skier David Wise
David Wise is the top American candidate to take home a gold in the inaugural ski halfpipe event in Sochi — an event that has been anticipated since the inclusion of snowboard halfpipe in 1998. Naturally, anyone who follows the world of ski halfpipe is quite familiar with Mr. Wise as he has completely dominated the competition circuit for the past two seasons. Taking first in 2012 and 2013 at X Games, a few Dew Tour stops, multiple U.S. Grand Prix events and the FIS World Championship for 2013, there is little doubt as to who is the man to beat these past few years. Most recently, Wise won two of five U.S. Olympic selection events and another X Games, leading into Sochi.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Model Olympian: David Wise
But here’s what you don’t know. He’s a drummer, rides a unicycle, a proud father and husband, has an interesting wedding ring and pictures himself someday as a pastor of a church. Take a few to catch up with the David Wise you never knew.
So, where’d you pick up the drums?
Well, growing up I was always going to be an athlete, and unfortunately that was pretty clear. My poor mom wanted me to be a musician or an artist, so she always forced me to try as many different things as she could, so drums was the one that I kind of stuck with for awhile. I did some lessons.
Do you naturally have rhythm or was it something that you really had to work on?
It’s something I definitely had to work on. I think I have learned rhythm, for sure, but it didn’t come naturally to me.
And how far did you take it?
To the point where I played in a band in high school. Then realized that we totally sucked, and I wanted to ski more.
Embedded video_content_type: David Wise skis to the beat of his own drum
How long have you been riding the unicycle?
I think when I was maybe fifteen, or fourteen.
What’s the attraction?
I feel like I pick up one stupid, new hobby every year. And unicycling was one summer where I just said, ‘hey, that’s really hard, and I want to learn how to do it.’
Did you buy a unicycle when you started riding?
Yeah. I had a friend who had one so I got to borrow his for a while. Then, finally, he was like, ‘hey, I want that thing back,’ so I bought one. I have a unicycle at home.
The Family Man
Your home life might surprise some people. Why don’t you us about it.
I have a wife and a little girl that I come home to after every long trip, and it’s definitely different. But, you know, that’s just the way my life was written, and something I couldn’t be happier about.
Has it changed you at all as an athlete?
Being a dad and a family man has really made me a better athlete, honestly. It’s one thing when you’re out there competing for yourself, competing for your sponsors, but when you’re out there competing for your family it makes it a lot more, or a lot less, about just you, and more about the sport and what you’re doing. You know? It’s easy to get caught up in the grind of - I’m going to wake up, I’m going to go out, I’m going to eat my breakfast, do my workout and everything is making me better. But, when you’re out there skiing for something bigger than just yourself, it just takes a lot of the pressure off for me, and I can just go out— I’m happy and content, fulfilled. I have an amazing life outside of skiing. I don’t have to perform at any time, I just get to go out and do what I enjoy doing.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Halfpiper David Wise is a full-time family man
Do you have any ink?
Yep, I got one tat, that’s my wedding ring.
When did you get that?
Pretty recently. Soon after we got married because I would take my wedding ring, and I would always play with it. It was such a big distraction for me. I’d take it off, and I’d figure out how to, you know, like the Davy Jones coin roll trick? I figured out how to do that with my ring. I would just do that constantly, and it got kind of annoying. I was always taking it off for workouts and going skiing, so I decided to just get a really comfortable, permanent one.
Embedded video_content_type: Tattoo, you: Athletes get inked up
The Brave Little Toaster
What’s your nickname?
No nicknames really ever stuck for me. They used to call me the Brave Little Toaster, but that was before I grew to six feet tall.
The Brave Little Toaster?
Yeah, ‘cause I was kind of a late bloomer. I was always small. When I would hang out with my sister’s friends who were four years older than me, I would play sports with them and I was always just kind of aggressive and fearless, and no matter how big the person was I would attack them full force, so they called me the Brave Little Toaster.
The Future Church Pastor
Is there anything in church that you’d be interested in pursuing?
Lexi, my wife, and I, we run the youth group at our church, and essentially you could call us the youth pastors. I’ve seen maybe in my life that I could be a pastor of a church at some point. If that’s the way it works out, or if that’s God’s plan for my life, then that’s something I’d be totally okay with, but if not, then I’ll do whatever else comes.
Is there any type of spiritual connection when you’re going down the halfpipe? Are you trying to say something with your athletic stuff? Or are they totally separate?
They’re definitely not totally separate. For me, if you’re going to go so far as to believe something, then it really should be a big part of whom you are. So, whenever I’m out there skiing, I try to be the same person as a skier as I am in church on Sundays. I try to be the same in everything that I do. I really just feel blessed and fortunate to be out there being a part of such a cool sport. If I can in turn take what I love to do and inspire other people, then that’s exactly what I’m looking for. Show people that the world is beautiful. Yeah, there’s ugliness mixed in, but God created us all with the potential of enjoying this place.
David Wise enjoying his work while finding his way to another podium finish at the 2013 Dew Tour.
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