David Wise defends title, US gets third gold halfpipe gold

A fan of David Wise, of the United States, watches during the men's halfpipe final at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) At least the Americans have the Phoenix Snow Park halfpipe.

Freestyle skier David Wise successfully defended his gold medal Thursday, breaking through on his final run to give the U.S. its third gold medal in the halfpipe at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Wise wiped out on his first two runs before sneaking past countryman Alex Ferreira on his third with a score of 97.20. Wise landed double corks in all four directions – front left, front right, switch (backward) left and switch right – a goal he set for himself entering these games.

It’s the seventh gold medal for the U.S. at the Pyeongchang Winter Games, five of which have come at Phoenix Snow Park. Chloe Kim and Shaun White won snowboard halfpipe gold last week, and Red Gerard and Jamie Anderson won at snowboard slopestyle.

The U.S. snowboard and freestyle skiing crews have accounted for 10 of the country’s 19 medals in Pyeongchang.

Ferreira took silver with 96.40 points, and 16-year-old Nico Porteous from New Zealand got bronze. Porteous got the Kiwis’ second medal of the day after snowboarder Zoi Sadowski Synnott won bronze in big air to end New Zealand’s 26-year Winter Games drought.

Porteous momentarily pushed past Ferreira for the top spot with his second run, shocking even himself with a score of 94.80. He dropped his jaw and put his hands on his head when he first saw the result.

Porteous didn’t even bother trying to top it in Run 3, cruising through the halfpipe without a trick and waiting at the bottom for the other competitors.

The Americans had eyed a podium sweep in the halfpipe, with Torin Yater-Wallace and Aaron Blunck also among the favorites. Yater-Wallace failed to complete a clean run, including a gnarly crash midway through his third try, and Blunck’s best effort was an 84.80 on his final run.

The U.S. last swept a podium in Sochi, when Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goeppel won the men’s skiing slopestyle. The U.S. also swept the 2002 men’s snowboard halfpipe and the 1956 men’s figure skating.

Follow Jake Seiner on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jake-seiner

More AP Olympics: https://wintergames.ap.org

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