Could you ski better than this Olympian?
Elizabeth Swaney's unremarkable qualifying run in the women's halfpipe.
Meet Elizabeth Swaney, the Olympic halfpipe skier without a single trick in her arsenal. The 33-year-old American stunned audiences with a run through the pipe that featured … well, nothing. Swaney threw straight air after straight air in a display that had most viewers wondering “Could I do better than that?”.
Somewhat amusingly, Swaney expressed disappointment in not qualifying for the finals.
“I didn’t qualify for the finals, so I‘m really disappointed with that. But I worked really for several years to achieve this.”
Athletes who don’t meet the standard expected of an Olympian are nothing new. Personalities like Eddie the Eagle (John Edwards) and Eric the Eel (Eric Moussambani) have become part of Olympic folklore, mostly revered for their efforts against the big names of the sport. But early reactions to Swaney’s effort have been mixed.
Pundits have suggested that she is making a mockery of the Olympic qualifying system (she is representing Hungary, the birthplace of her grandmother), while others have suggested that it is not a great look for women’s sport.
Interestingly, Swaney’s Olympic dream has been a long time coming. She reportedly tried qualifying in the skeleton for her mother’s native Venezuela, before switching allegiances to Hungary due its more relaxed requirements for representation.
Asked about her motivations for competing, Swaney said ”I want to show others that freestyle skiing is possible and it is never too late to get into this sport, and to help others to dream and to progress the sport in Hungary.”
“I hope this can be a platform to inspire others.”
Whether or not she will inspire the next generation of Olympic athletes is anyone’s guess. However, we wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few skiers out there checking up on their family history to see if they’re eligible to represent any other countries.