David Wise, local Olympic skier turned children’s author
You may recognize the name David Wise as the Northern Nevada local freestyle skier, the two-time Olympic gold medalist and the four-time X Games gold medalist. But what you may not know about Wise is his new venture as an author of children’s books, with his latest title, “Very Bear and the Butterfly.”
The tale was once his daughter’s favorite bedtime story, a modified version based on how he met his wife, Alexandra. He describes that time as the “worst winter of his life,” due to a knee injury that kept him from competing.
Because of his career, the family has the opportunity to travel a lot. One of the downsides to this wasn’t having as many books or toys on hand for his kids, 6-year-old Nayeli Grace and 3-year-old Malachi, so he would make stories up from his own life experiences, but his daughter only wanted to hear this one story every night anyways.
“The bear gets frustrated by his situation, what he does not have control over, and the butterfly then helps him find beauty in his life,” said Wise. “My daughter said, ‘hey, dad, why isn’t this a book yet?’ And she was right.”
Wise explains he was in such a competitive mind set when it came to skiing and winning, he couldn’t see the joy the rest of life had to offer.
“I could never seem to land the runs when it counted,” said Wise. “And then after my wife and kids, I was like wow, actually the most important part of life is my family, not just skiing.”
The lesson learned isn’t just one for children, but adults also.
“I get so bored of the children’s books that have no substance to them,” explained Wise. “I have so much appreciation for those that have messages to them, because most of the time it’s the parents reading the books, so why not make it for them too.”
Typically an athlete will use their his apparent fame to land modeling gigs, rep brand wear, or sell various teas on social media. When asking Wise about his decision to convert his Olympic fame into becoming an author of children’s books, he said, “I’m a voracious reader. I’ve always loved to read, since I was a kid. So it was nice to crack the seal with a story that I had already told one hundred times to my daughter. I have four other books that will probably never see the light of day, but this is definitely something I want to further pursue. I was presented with this opportunity, and this is what I am going to do with it.”
Wise accredits the creation of his first book to his illustrator, Harry Lau. He’s actually a tattoo artist from Sherwood, Ore., but did all the illustrations for the story.
“I put words on a page, then his illustrations made it real. Because he’s a tattoo artist, it gave the story an edgy and raw feel to it. He made it cool,” explains Wise.
After the ski season is done, Wise plans on going on tour for his new book. His tour plans include visiting schools, and he wants at least half of his appearances to be within the Northern Nevada region.
“It’s cool to be able to go to a school and inspire them with my athletic story. I wasn’t the most talented kid out there, but I was the most relentless. I want to tell kids to figure out what they want to do and keep going and doing it and doing it. Don’t take no for an answer, that’s what I did,” said Wise.
Very Bear and the Butterfly is currently being sold online. Within a few weeks, personally signed copies will be available at http://www.mrdavidwise.com. The kindle version is available on Amazon.com.