The 'Mediocre' Skier Raising Eyebrows at the Olympics
Elizabeth Swaney didn't do any tricks on her halfpipe run, deliberately
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2018 12:22 PM CST
Elizabeth Swaney, a US citizen competing for Hungary, finishes her qualifying run during the women's halfpipe at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Monday.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

(Newser) – On the surface, there's nothing at all ordinary or subpar about a 33-year-old Berkeley and Harvard grad who's competing with the best of the best at the Olympics. Yet Elizabeth Swaney has caused a hubbub in Pyeongchang, after turning in what Digg labels a "hilariously mediocre" ski run on the halfpipe. Today notes the US-born Swaney, who's competing for Hungary, "leisurely skied" the route on Monday in an "oddly captivating qualifying run"—notable because she offered up exactly zero aerial maneuvers, jumps, or other tricks like her competitors. NBC News and the Denver Post explain that Swaney was able to qualify for the Olympics due to a complicated system that involves country quotas, injuries, and the fact that turning in a top-30 performance at World Cup events—which sets one on the path to the Olympics—apparently isn't that hard to do.

Swaney went to a bunch of those competitions and simply managed to "not end up dead last," as one longtime judge tells the Post. The key to that: She never fell because of her easy courses. Thus, she qualified for the Olympics in what Deadspin calls "something between a scam and a tale of perseverance." However, she didn't see success in Monday's run: She actually did come in dead last, finishing 24th, and won't be moving on. She tells Reuters she's "really disappointed" but has no regrets about her experience. "I want to show others that freestyle skiing is possible and it is never too late to get into this sport," she says. Today notes Swaney only started freestyle skiing in 2013. Check out Digg to see video of the qualifying run. (This US skier's boyfriend just got booted from the Olympics.)

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