Americans David Wise and Alex Ferreira take gold and silver in men's freestyle halfpipe skiing

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – The sagging American medal table received a boost from the men’s halfpipe skiing team Thursday, as David Wise won gold and Alex Ferreira took silver at Phoenix Snow Park.

Wise, 27, won gold in halfpipe skiing’s debut at the Sochi Games and returned from a concussion and back problems to defend his medal with a clutch third run. After problems with his skis in his first two runs – his right fell off to torpedo his first and his left in his second – he scored 97.20 in his last time in the pipe.

Long an outlier in the freestyle ski world, Wise married young, has two kids and has said he wants to become a pastor when he finishes skiing. While his appearance has changed since the last Olympics, going from short-cropped hair to his current locks, Wise remains the sage veteran of the team.

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USA's David Wise wins gold in men's freestyle halfpipe skiing
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USA's David Wise wins gold in men's freestyle halfpipe skiing
Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Ski Halfpipe Finals - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 22, 2018 - David Wise of the U.S. celebrates after winning the event. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Ski Halfpipe Finals - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 22, 2018 - Gold medallist David Wise of the U.S. flanked by silver medallist Alex Ferreira of the U.S. and bronze medallist Nico Porteous of New Zealand celebrate during the flower ceremony. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Ski Halfpipe Final - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 22, 2018 - David Wise of the U.S. skis on one ski. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Ski Halfpipe Finals - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 22, 2018 - David Wise of the U.S. competes. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Ski Halfpipe Final - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 22, 2018 - David Wise of the U.S. competes. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Ski Halfpipe Final - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 22, 2018 - Bronze medallist Nico Porteous of New Zealand, gold medallist David Wise of the U.S. and silver medallist Alex Ferreira of the U.S. attend a victory ceremony. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Ski Halfpipe Final - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 22, 2018 - David Wise of the U.S. competes. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Ski Halfpipe Finals - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 22, 2018 - David Wise of the U.S. reacts after his final run. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Ski Halfpipe Final - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 22, 2018 - David Wise of the U.S. competes. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Ski Halfpipe Final - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 22, 2018 - David Wise of the U.S. competes. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Ski Halfpipe Training - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 22, 2018 - David Wise of the U.S. trains. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Ski Halfpipe Final - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 22, 2018 - David Wise of the U.S. competes. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Ski Halfpipe Final - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 22, 2018 - David Wise of the U.S. crashes. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Ski Halfpipe Training - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 22, 2018 - David Wise of the U.S. trains. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Ski Halfpipe Training - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 22, 2018 - David Wise of the U.S. trains. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: David Wise of United States competes in the Men's Ski Halfpipe final on day thirteen at Phoenix Snow Park on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: David Wise of United States competes in the Men's Ski Halfpipe final on day thirteen at Phoenix Snow Park on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: David Wise of United States is jointed on the podium by his son Malachi and daughter Nayeli after he takes gold in the Men's Ski Halfpipe at Phoenix Snow Park on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: David Wise of United States competes in the Men's Ski Halfpipe final on day thirteen at Phoenix Snow Park on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: (EDITORS NOTE: A GRADUATION FILTER WAS USED IN THE CREATION OF THIS IMAGE.) David Wise of the United States trains during the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Halfpipe Final on day thirteen of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: David Wise of the United States competes during the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Halfpipe Final on day thirteen of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Ski Halfpipe Final - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 22, 2018 - David Wise of the U.S. reacts. REUTERS/Mike Blake
US David Wise competes in a run of the men's ski halfpipe final during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Phoenix Park in Pyeongchang on February 22, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: David Wise of the United States competes during the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Halfpipe Final on day thirteen of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: David Wise of the United States competes during the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Halfpipe Final on day thirteen of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
US David Wise competes in a run of the men's ski halfpipe final during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Phoenix Park in Pyeongchang on February 22, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: David Wise of the United States reacts to his final run during the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Halfpipe Final on day thirteen of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: David Wise of the United States competes during the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Halfpipe Final on day thirteen of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: David Wise of the United States competes during the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Halfpipe Final on day thirteen of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
US David Wise competes in a run of the men's ski halfpipe final during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Phoenix Park in Pyeongchang on February 22, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Ski Halfpipe Finals - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 22, 2018 - Gold medallist David Wise of the U.S. celebrates during flower ceremony. REUTERS/Issei Kato
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Ferreira, 23, was something of a late bloomer, though he entered the Olympics as the No. 1-ranked halfpipe skier in the world. He raced moguls until Olympic teammate Torin Yater-Wallace encouraged him to try freestyle skiing.

Following his first run, Ferreira whipped his right pole over his head like a helicopter blade, apropos for the high rate of spinning he did in the pipe. It was warranted: His score of 92.6 led the competition after the first round, and he held his lead with a 96.00 in the second round. His 96.40 on his final run wasn’t enough to overtake Wise.

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Americans who have medaled at the 2018 Winter Olympics
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Americans who have medaled at the 2018 Winter Olympics
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 13: Gold medalist Chloe Kim of the United States poses during the medal ceremony for the Snowboard Ladies' Halfpipe Final on day four of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 13: Bronze medalist Arielle Gold of the United States poses during the medal ceremony for the Snowboard Ladies' Halfpipe Final on day four of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 11: U.S. Olympian Red Gerard poses with his Gold Medal at the USA House at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 11, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for USOC)
USA's gold medallist Jamie Anderson poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the women's snowboard slopestyle at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
USA's silver medallist Chris Mazdzer poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the men's luge singles at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
The USA team who won bronze pose on the podium during the medal ceremony for the figure skating team event at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 12: Bronze medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States pose with their teammates during the victory ceremony after the Figure Skating Team Event at Medal Plaza on February 12, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
USA's Shaun White with his gold medal after victory in the Men's Halfpipe Snowboard during the medal ceremony at the Medal Plaza during day five of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 15: Gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States celebrates during the medal ceremony for Alpine Skiing - Ladies' Giant Slalom on day six of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 15, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 18: Silver medalist Nick Goepper of the United States celebrates during the medal ceremony for the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Slopestyle on day nine of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 18, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - USA's silver medallist John-Henry Krueger kisses his medal on the podium during the medal ceremony for the short track men's 1000m at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / JAVIER SORIANO (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 20: Bronze medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States celebrate during the medal ceremony for Figure Skating - Ice Dance Free Dance on day 11 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 20, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
USA's bronze medallist Brita Sigourney poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the freestyle skiing women's halfpipe at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 20, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pyeongchang, Gangwon - FEBRUARY 21: Bronze medallist Lindsey Vonn of the United States celebrates during the medal ceremony for the Ladies' Downhill on day twelve of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal PlazaFebruary 21, 2018 (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 21: Heather Bergsma, Brittany Bowe, Mia Manganello and Carlijn Schoutens of the United States celebrate after winning the bronze medal in the Speed Skating Ladies' Team Pursuit Final B against Canada on day 12 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Oval on February 21, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 21: Jessica Diggins of the United States (L) and Kikkan Randall of the United States celebrate as they win gold during the Cross Country Ladies' Team Sprint Free Final on day 12 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Cross-Country Centre on February 21, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG, Feb. 22, 2018 -- David Wise of the United States celebrates with his family after men's ski halfpipe of freestyle skiing at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park, PyeongChang, South Korea, Feb. 22, 2018. David Wise won the gold medal with 97.20 points. (Xinhua/Wu Zhuang via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: Jamie Anderson of United States is seen with her silver medal from the Ladies Snowboard Big Air Final at Medal Plaza on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA -FEBRUARY 22: Silver medalist Mikaela Shiffrin #19 of the United States at the presentations after the Alpine Skiing - Ladies' Alpine Combined Slalom at Jeongseon Alpine Centre on February 22, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: (L-R) Carlijn Schoutens and Mia Manganello of the United States celebrate during the medal ceremony for Speed Skating - Ladies' Team Pursuit on day 13 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: Silver medalist Alex Ferreira of the United States celebrates during the medal ceremony for Freestyle Skiing - Men's Ski Halfpipe on day 13 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: Silver medalists Lauren Gibbs and Elana Meyers Taylor of the United States celebrate during the medal ceremony for Bobsleigh - Women on day 13 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, Pyeongchang- FEBRUARY 22 - Team USA with their medals as Canada loses in a shootout to the United States in the Olympic women's hockey gold medal game at the Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung in Pyeongchang in South Korea. February 22, 2018. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
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