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20th Feb 2018

People can’t get over the ‘worst Olympian ever’ who blagged her way to Pyeongchang

Always follow your dreams

Kyle Picknell

She says she was “really disappointed” not to reach the final.

We all have dreams. 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.

Elizabeth Marian Swaney’s dream was to compete in the Olympic games, as a freestyle skier, despite possessing no discernible talent for skiing.

However it’s hard to work out whether it is extremely admirable, or extremely annoying, that she actually managed to achieve her goal as watching her slowly and steadily meandering up and down the halfpipe, performing absolutely no tricks and generally resembling a spider attempting to clamber out of a bathtub.

Swaney, who is US-born but represents Hungary, arrived in the ludicrous situation by exploiting a loophole in the qualifying system. She attended as many World Cup qualifier events as she could for four years – which had less than 30 competitors – and did them really, really slowly, didn’t fall over, and therefore finished in the top-30 every time.

Dead last every time, but still.

Her previous endeavours have included, and I’m not joking, running for Governor of California when she was 19, trying out for the Oakland Raiders cheerleading squad and, obviously, also attempting to become an Olympic skeleton racer for Venezuela.

The halfpipe is judged on a 100 point scale and the plucky American did relatively well with her score of 31.40.

Relatively well to zero. Not relatively well to any other competitor in the history of the event.

The lowest qualifying score was 72.80, several lightyears away, but the Californian Silicon Valley worker still said, “I didn’t qualify for finals so I’m really disappointed”, without a shred of irony after the event.

One can only boldly predict what Swaney has in store next, but I can only hope to channel her unquestionable will to realise her dreams and perform an exhilarating sport very, very slowly.

Who knows, you could see playing for the New York Knicks within a year, ambling up and down the court in my jeans, throwing bounce passes to the hotdog man and just sitting down under the basket whenever I get tired.