Olympic Gold Medalist David Wise Uses His Success to Help Children in Africa

02/19/14

David Wise, who skied a near-perfect run through sleet and fog to become the first-ever Olympic gold medalist in halfpipe skiing Tuesday in Sochi, has intrigued the media with his family values and squeaky clean image. 

 
What they don't know is that David's family is a lot bigger than just his wife and two-year-old daughter. As part of the Children of the Nations (COTN) family, he is a dedicated advocate for thousands of children in Africa and the Caribbean. 
 
Olympic gold medalist David Wise and his wife Alexandra in the Dominican Republi
        Olympic gold medalist David Wise and his wife Alexandra in the Dominican Republic, with their COTN family.
 
David considers himself "pretty fortunate," and as such, has sought to use his influence and resources to help those who are less fortunate. When David claimed his second consecutive gold medal at the US Winter X Games last year (he won a third in January), he decided to do something different with the ten percent of the winnings traditionally spent on drinks for friends at the bar. Instead, David funded a different kind of drink for children in Malawi: clean water. 
 
Having traveled to COTN's ministry site in the Dominican Republic in 2012 with his wife and sister, David knew first-hand the types of problems the children face on a daily basis. Clean water stood out as a serious need, with a clear solution. "People who live in those areas just accept digestive problems, parasites, and waterborne illnesses as a fact of life," he writes on his website. He wanted to change that.
 
David and Alexandra saw first-hand the issues the children face on a daily basis
    David and Alexandra saw first-hand the issues the children face on a daily basis, and wanted to help solve them.
 
Hoping to rally other elite athletes to contribute part of their winnings to COTN's clean water projects, David founded We Say Water in 2013. This charity works with COTN and other organizations to fund clean water projects around the world. 
 
Deep in the bush of rural Malawi, more than 200 children from the village of Chirombo will soon have access to clean water, thanks in part to David's use of his winnings. This is the third well COTN has planned for this village, and will ensure that all the families who live in this remote community will have the ability to drink safe and clean water. 
 
"The well will also be closer to their homes, and will reduce the amount of illness from waterborne disease," says Peter Drennan, COTN's director of sustainable development.  "Access to clean water can even improve school attendance, as children will be sick less often." 
 
Children look on as the first well in Chirombo village is opened.
Children look on as the first well in Chirombo village is opened. Thanks to David, and partners like you, a third well will make clean water accessible to the entire village.