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Olympic Champion Skier David Wise’s Guide To Parenting

By Lisa Costantini | Feb. 12, 2015, 4:10 p.m. (ET)

David and Alexandra Wise pose with their two children, Nayeli and Malachi, at the Winter X Games on Jan. 25, 2015 in Aspen, Colo. 

Olympic halfpipe skiing gold medalist David Wise had to make a tough decision last month. Go to Austria to defend his world championships title, or compete in the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado — both of which were taking place the same weekend. (Wise chose the X Games.)

And just as an Olympic athlete, he has to make hard choices as a parent. Dad to 3-year-old daughter, Nayeli and a 4-month-old son, Malachi, we asked the 24-year-old eight ways having kids is just like being an Olympic athlete.

1. They’re Both Exhilarating

“My most exciting moment so far as a dad was probably watching my little girl learn how to walk. It was amazing — and then seeing the family complete with the birth of our little boy. Everything is a new moment. Everything is exciting.”

2. They’re Both Exhausting

“I remember being so tired at Dew Tour last December. The two kids got sick and my wife Lexi and I were up all night for like three nights in a row with them. That was pretty tiring.”

3. It’s A Lot Of Repetition

“As a dad I find that I am constantly changing diapers. And probably giving this one here [leaning over to kiss his daughter] a good night kiss.”

4. Someone Always Has An Opinion On What You’re Doing

“I’ve gotten some good and bad advice as a dad. The best was probably just to love your kids unconditionally. Everything starts with love and nothing else really matters.

Worst advice I’ve heard — I get kind of annoyed about people who get too intense about keeping your kids safe. I think a lot of people are like, ‘Oh, I can’t believe you let your kid do that.’ Well yeah I let her do that, so she can learn from her mistakes. I’m not going to let her kill herself, but I’m going to let her run around, play on the playground, get dirt on her knees, have fun, enjoy life.”

5. After A While You Forget How Hard It Was At The Beginning

“I think I mentally blocked out how much work babies are after having our first. I think a lot of parents do because nobody ever tells you that. You definitely have to take care of them all the time. They’re pretty needy, but it’s a blast, for sure.”

6. You’re A Different Person Than You Were Before

“Being a dad changed me as a person. It allowed me to kind of be free when I’m skiing. It gave me perspective that life is a lot bigger than just skiing. It’s not about winning and losing. So now I’m not pressured. I’m not worried. I’m just out there enjoying the moment.”

7. Sometimes Your Abilities Surprise Even You

“What surprised me about being a dad is how natural it was. I was really intimidated and scared at first, but when I saw this little girl and realized that she just wanted me to be her dad — she didn’t care about anything else. She didn’t care if I was a good skier, or a great athlete. She just wanted her dad there supporting her.”

8. It Keeps Getting Better And Better

“I love both my kids equally but, man, my son is such a chill kid. I love everything about him. He’s always happy. He doesn’t need a lot. He’s a simple man like his dad. I’m easy to please and I enjoy life. I feel like he’s got the same temperament as I do.”

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David Wise

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