Inspiration or gaming the system? Elizabeth Swaney, an American skiing for #TeamHungary, delivers average-skier perspective (no tricks) to #PyeongChang2018 #Olympic #halfpipe contest https://t.co/NjP3zmCOAM
— Jason ☀️ Blevins (@jasonblevins) February 18, 2018
In case you haven’t heard, the Winter Olympics were changed forever yesterday after a run from Elizabeth Swaney. If you haven’t seen the run yet, it will forever change how you perceive Olympic athletes.
Where most athletes competing in the Winter Olympics spend the majority of their lives training and grinding to qualify, Swaney broke the mold when she decided that she was going to do the opposite.
She decided in 2013 that she was going to go to the Olympics one day, and picked the sport she was most likely to be able to compete in: Ladies Ski Halfpipe.
It should also be noted at this point that Swaney is one smart woman. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a graduate degree from Harvard. It’s only reasonable to assume that she realized she would never be able to compete at the same level as the other athletes in the event. So, she would have to do something the sport had never seen before on that stage to be appreciated.
In a fit of brilliance, Swaney crafted the most unimaginable run possible, leaving a mark on the Olympics that will never go away. No one had ever done what Swaney managed to pull off and no one ever will again.
Where most athletes were dozens of feet in the air gyrating and turning like spastics, Swaney did what no one else was doing. She barely left the ground, electing instead to hypnotically sway back and forth through the halfpipe, reaching the end of the run with a brilliant half turn to go down the last stretch backwards, as if to say “Kiss my ass, conventions.”
Where Pop Warner revolutionized the forward pass in football and Emiliano Zapata revolutionized Mexico, Swaney has revolutionized the sport of skiing.
There may be some who say the run was “dull,” “uninspired” or “amateurish,” but rest assured these are the same people that still use typewriters and flip phones. They refuse to modernize and accept the future of anything, let alone a purists’ sport like halfpipe skiing.
What we all have witnessed today was a true piece of art and Swaney was the artist. Some can appreciate her run now, while others will wave it off as a fluke. One thing is for sure, though: Swaney will be looked back on as a revolutionary and a hero for the future competitors in the sport.
She will forever be known as the parody Picasso of women’s skiing.