A female skier discovered a genius hack that allowed her to participate in the Winter Olympics despite being a complete beginner. Elizabeth Swaney, a Hungarian skier of American origin, faced criticism for her lack of tricks during the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. Although she failed to impress the public and Olympics officials with her performance in the ski halfpipe run, she managed to meet the top-30 requirement by participating in competitions with fewer than 30 athletes, ensuring she achieved the necessary 13 finishes.
The Winter Olympics in question took place from the 9th to the 25th of February, 2018, in the host country of South Korea. After her performance, Elizabeth Swaney’s TikTok videos went viral, turning her into an overnight social media sensation. Now, she aims to inspire the next generation and make her presence felt in the competition. Swaney expressed her desire to encourage others to engage in freestyle skiing, emphasizing that it’s possible to participate in the sport regardless of one’s background.
Swaney had an opportunity to secure a 13th-place finish out of 15 competitors. That was made possible because several top athletes chose to compete in other significant events, such as the Dew Tour at Breckenridge and the Grand Prix at Copper Mountain. Swaney focused on avoiding crashes and completing her runs to accumulate enough finishes to qualify for the Olympics.
In response to Swaney’s participation, FIS Ski Halfpipe judge Steele Spence announced that there would be modifications to the qualification process to raise the standards for participating athletes in future Winter Olympics. Spence highlighted the relatively shallow field in women’s pipe events and mentioned Swaney’s consistent participation in World Cup events with a limited number of competitors. The authorities will consider several changes in World Cup quotas and qualification criteria to ensure athletes qualify through a more rigorous system. The Italian cities of Cortina and Milan will co-host the upcoming Winter Olympics in February 2026.