David Wise: Life Before the Gold

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RENO, NV - From high school athlete to now Olympic Gold Medalist, David Wise is making a name for himself across the globe, but he still proudly calls Reno his home.

His friends describe him as a down-to-earth guy, someone you wouldn't even know was an Olympian if you saw him. His high school teacher and ski coach says he was a hard worker both inside and outside the classroom. Life before gold was simple for wise.

Wise turned heads at the Winter X-Games and now, he's proven to the world that he's the best. He made his debut at the Winter Games in its first ever free-skiing halfpipe event, and he's not leaving empty handed.

"He won gold!" shouts his two-year-old daughter, Nayeli.

Before he became a world famous athlete, he was just a regular teen at Earl Wooster High School.

"The kid you hang out with all the time, go hang out on a regular day who calls you up, 'hey you want to go on a mountain bike?' to think he's a gold medalist is incredible," said Wise's best friend, Zig Furman.

'It's just really cool to hear the commentators talk about David Wise from Reno," said former anatomy teacher and high school ski coach Dave Zotter.

Wise was a state champion skier before he could even drive, skied for four years on the school team and always placed in the top, but it wasn't his talent that made him memorable.

"The kids on the team loved him, loved being around him," said Zotter. "When he was there he exuded that enthusiasm; it was just a whole different feeling when he was there."

His friends and coaches knew from the beginning that he was destined for greatness. His high school senior class voted him Most Likely to Go to the Olympics.

"He's always trying to push the boundaries, always trying to push himself and do better," described Furman.

With a wife and a young daughter, it's hard to concentrate on purely competition and training. His strength comes from his ability to balance all facets of his life. His coach of 10 years, Max McManus, says that's what sets him apart from the rest.

"I think it helps keep him form having to get to one dimensionally stressed out on just training all the time and competing."

Dozens of his closest friends and family, including Nayeli, his mother-in-law and Furman, gathered at Bully's on Robb Drive Tuesday night to watch the young athlete show the world that David Wise is a force to be reckoned with.

'We love you!" "I knew you were going to win."

Wise will be returning to the Biggest Little City with a gold medal in hand next week.