If juggling a demanding career, nurturing a family, managing a home and keeping a vibrant faith aren’t enough to fill each day, add the challenge of being married to an Olympic champion. We watched David Wise take home the gold medal in Men’s Freestyle Skiing during the Sochi Winter Olympics. Today, we’re talking to his wife, Lexi, about the challenges David’s career brings to their relationship and how together, they overcome them.
4word: How did you and David meet?
Lexi: David and I met in high school at a Christian leadership summer camp called “Wild Wood” in California. We became friends and shared a passion for seeking after our faith, along with being outside and enjoying sports. David tells me now that it was my scarred knees and pony tail on the soccer field at camp that drew his attention to me above the other girls.
Our relationship stayed plutonic for almost three years after our initial camp meeting. We would see each other from time to time at a church service. Then, there was a coincidental meeting after church on Palm Sunday 2010, which led to a deep conversation. This was where the magic happened.
He later invited me to coffee with him. We met at a downtown Starbucks where I bought myself a coffee and anxiously waited. My heart was pounding when David finally arrived. I asked what he wanted to drink and he replied, “Eh, I don’t really like coffee. Let’s get out of here.” All my pre-planned ideas and conversations went flying through the door and we decided to go play some pool at the club house of one of my friends. He took the convenient opportunity to use my lack of pool skills to properly show me how to shoot. Being that close to him made my nerves go numb. I don’t even remember if I made the shot or not, but it didn’t matter. I had made the shot of my life – David Wise was alone with me giving me his undivided attention. I was in heaven.
We saw each other a few times a week after that. On April 14, 2010 David and I walked from his bachelor pad in downtown Reno, NV, to the Truckee River. We sat by the water and talked for hours about our past, present, and future dreams. Then in a very David way he said, “Let’s just call it what it is. You can call me your boyfriend, and I will call you my girlfriend.” And that was it.
From that beautiful day watching the sun set on the glistening water of downtown Reno, David Wise became my boyfriend, who soon after became my best friend, and forever became my soul’s companion.
4word: How does David’s career as a professional skier affect your relationship? Do you have to take extra steps to guard your time together?
Lexi: David’s career brings some challenges to the table. The first few years were really hard for me to deal with. It was easy for me to feel sad that I was at home alone while he was having fun traveling without me. But the truth is that David is probably the best husband to have in this situation. He loves me so much, that every day in his very crazy training schedule, he makes time to call me at least once, even for just 5 minutes. When he is in Europe and there is no internet connection, he still texts.
This season, when Nayeli and I were blessed to be able to join him traveling for three months straight, we quickly realized just how intense his training and competitive season really is. It’s not just fun and games out there for him. It’s not easy to not have a home or a bed to call your own. It’s a fast-paced lifestyle and takes a very special person to be able to handle that much travel on top of the highest competitive pressures. So when he calls me to tell me he loves me, he really does mean it. He could be sleeping, or just relaxing, or taking the time to read – his favorite free time activity. Instead, he sacrifices that time, sometimes even removing himself from fun situations with friends just to be able to stay in touch with me and our daughter.
I try to remember how hard he really is working to support Nayeli and me. It is a gift to not have to work, and be able to learn and play with her in these early years. So yes, it is not easy when he is gone so often. I find a lot of peace in knowing that he is working his hardest at his passion in life, pushing himself and the sport, while thinking about us and being the best husband and father he can at the same time. He is always thinking of us. No matter how far away he travels, he carries our hearts with him.
4word: The Sochi Olympics put your whole family in the national spotlight. What was that experience like?
Lexi: David has been succeeding in men’s ski superpipe for three seasons now, so the aspect of his fortune and talent in the public eye has been ongoing. However, the pressure and hype of the Olympics brings a whole new attention to what David already is and has been. For that, it did change the game a lot.
The Olympics mean so much to David and his sport. To be recognized on a world level is incredible and exactly what their sport needs. However, with all the attention surrounding David, there was a lot of attention that also fell onto his family. The media has been gracious to David and our family but, at times, I feel like it’s not the whole story. We have been painted in such a good light that it’s almost not real. David has been said to be “vanilla” with a “squeaky clean background.” The truth is, David is not perfect and neither is our family. I don’t think David’s success depends on him having a squeaky clean life, or lifestyle. I think it is healthy to admit we are flawed, as long as we are putting in our efforts to become better. That’s what family is really about – to love the rough edges long enough that they become smooth and rounded out. We need each other. In the end, we will continue to become a tighter, closer, healthier family that genuinely loves one another.
4word: How do you support David, his career, Nayeli, and your work in youth ministry? What helps you prioritize?
Lexi: Every parent knows how crazy life can become when you add a little growing life to the mix. Things like grocery shopping are a day’s adventure! There is so much to get done in just one day with a family and career and passions on the side. The thing that keeps David and I most grounded is just knowing and being okay with not getting everything checked off the list every day.
I know the house can always be cleaner and more organized. David can always write one more email, and train one more way every day. What really matters at the end of the day? I have to say how we treat each other and the time we spend as a family. If I don’t get to the dishes one night because we had a dance party in the living room, I think I’m okay with that. Just keep family first. Everything else will happen eventually.
Lexi and David’s example of putting family before everything else is truly an inspiration, especially to those of us who have lives that seem to go a mile a minute. In the crazy rush of everyday life, make a point to step back and decide if that “one last email” is more important than a quick game of hide-and-seek.
How will you take time today to keep your family first? Maybe it’s time to leave the dishes in the sink, or let the laundry sit in the dryer a while longer. Whatever it is, enjoy the relationships that God has given you.
Anyone will tell you that being a wife and mother is a full-time job. It requires patience, respect, selflessness and lots of love. As a wife to an Olympic Gold Medalist, Alexandra Wise, better known by her friends and family as Lexi, gracefully tackles the responsibilities demanded to ensure her husband’s success, while selflessly tending to their daughter and business initiatives when David is traveling. While his career requires them to spend time apart, they remain a strong family unit, working as a team to raise their beautiful two-year-old daughter, Nayeli while nurturing their marriage to build a home filled with love, laughter and support.
Although Lexi has a demanding schedule, she still finds time for the things she’s passionate about. Inspired by their own blessings, especially their daughter, Lexi and David have started a campaign called “We Say Water,” raising money to build wells for people and children who, otherwise, do not have the resources for clean drinking water. When life permits, Lexi dabbles in her hobbies of photography and creative crafts. A strong believer in self-improvement, Lexi strives to improve the things she’s already good at and challenges herself daily by trying new things.