For sports enthusiasts, the Olympics are the place to witness some of the best athletes in the world compete. From luge to slalom, winter sports take center stage every four years—this time, in Pyeongchang. However, it appears that one athlete, though miles away from elite prowess, has fought her way into the spotlight.
Elizabeth Swaney, an American representing Hungary, captivated the world with her strikingly mediocre women’s halfpipe qualifying run. The event announcers begin her run as with the other athletes: “Elizabeth Swaney from Hungary out of Oakland, California. Now 34 in the World Cup and 13th in the half pipe at Secret Garden earlier in the year. What can she deliver on here in Pyeongchang?” However, after several attempts to crest the half pipe’s lip, their ability to take the run seriously began to deteriorate: “Will it be enough just to tempt the judges?” The video of this viral run is available via the NBC Olympics Twitter.
The 33-year-old American appears to have schemed her way on the Olympic stage. A graduate of Harvard University, she knew she would be unable to snag a spot on the competitive United States team. She originally wanted to ski for Venezuela, her mother’s home country, but switched to Hungary, the birthplace of her grandparents. In skiing for Hungary, Swaney had a better change of meeting the International Ski Federation’s requirements necessary to qualify for Olympic participation. In essence, she simply needed to show up at several international events, compete in very basic runs, and not crash.
Though many other athletes are angry with Swaney’s blatant disregard for Olympic prestige, her ability to scam her way into the 2018 Olympics is nothing short of admirable.