Skip to main content

American Skier Competing For Hungary Elizabeth Swaney Is Going Viral For Her Unusual Halfpipe Routine, Background Story

Skier Elizabeth Swaney riding in the halfpipe.

Most people make it to the Olympics because they are incredibly skilled in their respective sports and have put in crazy amounts of time and effort.

American skier Elizabeth Swaney, who is competing in the Winter Olympics for Hungary, did some of the latter but doesn't possess much of the former. You see, Swaney basically gamed the system to reach Pyeongchang.

The 33-year-old Harvard graduate realized that in order to qualify for the Olympics, she basically just had to show up for as many World Cup events. If she finished in the top 30 consistently, she'd be on her way to the Olympics.

She is competing for Hungary because of her maternal grandparents, and previously competed for Venezuela in other winter sports.

Here is more info, courtesy of The Guardian.

Needing to consistently finish in the top 30 at World Cup events to make it to South Korea, Swaney has persisted with easy runs, sometimes not even attempting tricks, to make sure she does not fall and always records a score. Her best finish came at Secret Garden in China when she finished 13th out of 15 athletes while a majority of her Olympic rivals were competing in the US Grand Prix at Copper Mountain or on the Dew Tour.

“The field is not that deep in the women’s pipe and she went to every World Cup, where there were only 24, 25, or 28 women,” FIS halfpipe judge Steele Spence told the Denver Post. “She would compete in them consistently over the last couple years and sometimes girls would crash so she would not end up dead last.

True to form, Swaney played it safe during the qualification for the women’s ski halfpipe final on Monday, coming in dead last. She completed both of her runs but did not attempt any tricks, leaving her way behind her fellow competitors.

Swaney's qualifying effort drew praise from some (after all, you still have to show up and ski in all those different events) and ire from others. Despite not qualifying for the finals, it seems like she has enjoyed her time in Pyeongchang.

You can find some more photos of Swaney on her Instagram page

From international #skeleton sliders and #Utah training teammates to #Olympic skiers! With @sebas_uprimny from #Colombia #crosscountry. #Hungary #freestyleski #skihungary #teamhungry #magyarsí #pyeongchang2018 #olympics ????

A post shared by Elizabeth Swaney (@lizswaney) on Feb 11, 2018 at 6:52pm PST

" rel="noopener" target="_blank">here.