Like many people, I've always had this idea that the athletes who compete in the Olympics are the best of the best, but freestyle skier Elizabeth Swaney has proved that the bare minimum works just as fine. Her runs have literally showcased exactly what all of us would do if given a pair of skis and made to compete in a ski competition. In fact, her performance is kind of like that basic notion where you get an A for effort. But what's really intriguing is the strategy that got Swaney into the event in the first place. Besides, even though the video of Elizabeth Swaney's halfpipe run shows her casually finagling her way through the Olympics on a loophole, it's #Goals and proves that anything is possible with even the smallest amount of effort.
On Feb. 19 (Feb. 18 in the United States) Swaney, who's representing Hungary during the 2018 PyeongChang Games, started her second qualifier halfpipe run in front of a crowd of eager sports fans like any other Olympic athlete. But what fans probably didn't expect was for the skier to slide back and forth across the slopes in such an... average way. Her run was tricks-less, and she probably never lifted any more than just a couple inches off the ground throughout her entire run. Still, in some strange plot twist, the video is pretty impressive (and hilarious) considering the fact that she's pulling such average moves in a huge event like the Olympics.
OK seriously, if a performance like this qualifies for the Olympics, I wonder if I've been going about work promotions all wrong...
According to Deadspin, Swaney was able to enter the 2018 PyeongChang Games on a loophole.
The site reported that in order to qualify for the Olympics, the skier had to rank within the top 30 contestants at several World Cup skiing competitions, which she did by simply showing up and staying within her limits. Swaney met the requirement last December after she competed in a Chinese event while the highest-ranking athletes were at another event in Colorado. She ranked No. 13 out of 15 athletes — even with her average moves. According to the website, other athletes fell during their runs (a disqualifying rule), which made the 33-year-old a qualifying candidate.
When it comes to the Olympics, some competitors reportedly dropped out due to injuries and others couldn't compete due to imposed limits on the amount of skiers that can participate from the same country, which gave Swaney an opportunity to do a run in PyeongChang. Her strategy is that as long as she doesn't fall, she can continue to compete — no matter how simple her performance is.
But some people haven't been too thrilled.
According to the Denver Post, some people aren't happy that Swaney made it to the Olympics, and even asked a judge to explain how she was granted the opportunity to compete. When speaking about the loophole, Steele Spence, the International Ski Federation's (FIS) ski halfpipe and slopestyle judge, attempted to smooth things over by saying there would be changes happening in the future. He said,
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. She would compete in them consistently over the last couple years and sometimes girls would crash so she would not end up dead last. There are going to be changes to World Cup quotas and qualifying to be eligible for the Olympics. Those things are in the works so technically you need to qualify up through the system.
Aside from the criticisms, Swaney maintained that she's just "trying to do the best" for herself and "represent Hungary" as best as she can, according to the Denver Post. In an interview before her last practice on Feb. 18, she said,
I’m just trying to do the best for myself and represent Hungary as best as I can. I really hope to inspire others in Hungary to take up freestyle skiing and I hope that contributes to a greater number of people out there freestyle skiing.
She's definitely given me inspiration that great things can happen in life — even when we do the bare minimum. And surely, Hungary will never forget her performance, either.