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New Zealand pockets gold in men's ski halfpipe, USA rounds out podium

Nico Porteous of New Zealand took gold and Team USA's David Wise and Alex Ferreira won the silver and bronze.
Gold medal winner New Zealand's Nico Porteous celebrates during the venue award ceremony for the men's halfpipe finals at the 2022 Winter Olympics, in Zhangjiakou, China, on Saturday.Gregory Bull / AP

Nico Porteous battled heavy wind gusts Saturday in the men’s freeski halfpipe final to capture New Zealand’s second-ever Olympic gold.

Fellow 2018 medalists David Wise, 31, and Alex Ferreira, 27, of the U.S. will take home the silver and bronze.

Porteous, 20, the reigning world and two-time X Games champion stomped back-to-back double cork 1620s in both directions on the first run to score a 93.00, ultimately earning him the title and upgrading his bronze from four years ago when he was 16.

“I’m currently over the moon. I still can’t really believe it,” said Porteous, whose brother Miguel finished 11th.

Wise, a father of two entering as the two-time defending gold medalist from Sochi and PyeongChang, paired back-to-back 1260s to close out his first run for a 90.75. That held for silver, his third Olympic medal.

Wise broke his femur a year after PyeongChang but returned to competition just seven months later.

"I'm just as surprised with this silver medal as I was with my first gold," Wise said after the event. "You kind of learn to not expect things but to hope for them — set high hopes, low expectations — and that was my game plan today."

Wise said he honored to be competing, proud of his teammate and impressed by Porteous' gold-medal performance.

"He was kind of young the last Olympics, and you could tell he was building momentum," he said. "It's nice for me to be able to pass the torch off to somebody who's going to keep progressing the sport in a positive way."

Wise, an avid bow hunter, has spent his entire life in Reno and aspires to make the U.S. Olympic archery team for the 2028 Los Angeles Games. 

Ferreira, silver medalist in PyeongChang, pole-twirled his way to an 86.75 on Run 1, but wasn’t able to improve and took bronze.

A native of Aspen, Colorado, the two-time X Games champion claimed December’s Copper Grand Prix before back-to-back runner-up finishes at Calgary Snow Rodeo.