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

    SOCHI, RUSSIA – February 19, 2014 – David Wise, who skied a near-perfect run through sleet and fog to become the first-ever Olympic gold medalist in halfpipe skiing on Tuesday in Sochi, has made a reputation as a "family man." But Wise'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. 

    Wise considers himself "pretty fortunate," and as such, has sought to use his influence and resources to help those who are less fortunate. When he claimed his second consecutive gold medal at the US Winter X Games last year (he won a third in January), Wise decided to use ten percent of the winnings, traditionally spent on alcohol for friends at the bar, to buy a different kind of drink. Instead of buying a round of beers, he helped fund a well for children in Malawi, Africa. 
    Having traveled to COTN's ministry site in the Dominican Republic in 2012 with his wife and sister, Wise knew first-hand the types of problems children in developing countries face on a daily basis. Clean water stood out as a serious need to Wise, 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.
    Hoping to rally other elite athletes to contribute part of their winnings to COTN's clean water projects, Wise founded We Say Water in 2013. This charity works with COTN and other organizations to fund clean water projects around the world. Along with other generous donors, Wise helped fund a new well in the remote village of Chirombo, Malawi. This project will provide clean drinking water to more than 200 children who currently do not have access to safe 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."