Elizabeth Swaney gamed the Olympics for a spot on Team Hungary and she can barely ski the halfpipe.
Swaney, 33, is actually an American, but began competing for Venezuela and then Hungary (her maternal grandparents are apparently from there) and was able to rack up qualifying points simply by showing up to World Cup events with very few participants and not falling on her butt! At last December's World Cup in China, when most of the world's top skiers were competing in the Grand Prix at Copper Mountain and Dew Tour at Breckenridge, Swaney finished 13 out of 15 competitors, her best career finish.
I say she used ambition, hustle, and grit (and yes, she revealed some absurdity in the process).
What's even more fantastic is that this wasn't a strategy by Swaney to play it safely to the finals - it's just what she does. In a competition stocked to the brim with eye-popping athletic feats, Swaney's mild back-and-forth turns across the halfpipe stood out. According to the Denver Post, Swaney has been competing in World Cup events since 2013 while pursuing her Olympic dream.
Knowing that there was no chance for her to make it into the USA team, Swaney used her grandparents' heritage to claim Hungarian lineage and became the first person to represent Hungary in skiing. She basically said "I can go if you have nobody else going". If she finished in the top 30 consistently, she'd be on her way to the Olympics.
Korea entered 19-year-old Kyoungeun Kim in women's aerials earlier in the Games, the first skier from the host country to take on the event at the Olympics. She was completely self-funded throughout her preparation and qualifying campaign and would not have made it if she had crashed at two or three meetings.
How? She just skied straight down the bloody thing. She navigated the qualification guidelines well enough to land a spot among the world's best.
Swaney somehow made the Hungarian Olympic skiing team despite being, and we mean this in the nicest way possible, not very good.
And despite on-lookers around the globe being left bemused at Swaney's run and some being heavily critical, she did receive support from one of her fellow competitors.
"She didn't take someone else's place so we don't see any reason why we shouldn't have supported her to participate", it said, highlighting that she had covered all her expenses as well.
But, there are already signs it will be much more hard for anyone to follow Swaney's improbable path. My own personal dream is to become an NBA point guard, but my knees don't work and I can't play basketball, so you know. Slow and steady, Swaney outscored the pair - and for one magical qualifying run, she didn't finish last.
I'm serious about her LinkedIn profile.
She now has an army of admirers on social media with many fans calling her the worst Olympian ever.
Unsurprisingly, Swaney did not qualify for the medal run.
She was frustrated to receive so much attention when she felt her competitors deserved the limelight.