Liz Swaney may not be hitting the Olympic halfpipe as hard as the other Olympic skiers, but she’s definitely living her life at full send. Her score in the women's ski halfpipe qualifiers wasn't groundbreaking—a mere 31.40—but what is compelling is the full life this 33-year-old has had.
Considering she’s already ran for Governor against Arnold Schwarzenegger in California, attended both Harvard and Berkley, and tried out for the Oakland Raiders cheer team: Swaney is fazed by nothing.
This wasn’t her first go at the Olympics. Previously, the American competed in skeleton for Venezuela, and is now using her grandparents' Hungarian heritage as her ticket for the freeskiing halfpipe competition, a sport she picked up in the past eight years and self-funded by working two jobs. As the Denver Post reports, Swaney qualified for the Olympics through an interesting loophole that only required one top-30 finish in a World Cup event. Given that a World Cup halfpipe event in China last December only had 15 contestants as most top pros were at Dew Tour and Copper's Grand Prix, all Swaney had to do was not fall and she was in the Olympics.
After finishing 13 out of 15 skiers, she qualified as the first-ever Hungarian freestyle Olympian. And while her skill may not be exactly up to par with the other athletes, but she makes up for it with enthusiasm.
“I want to show others that freestyle skiing is possible and it is never too late to get into this sport, and to help others to dream and to progress the sport in Hungary,” Swaney told Reuters. “I hope this can be a platform to inspire others.”
Unfortunately for Swaney, there is some talk of changing the qualifying rules. If so, her pizza and french fries will be missed in 2022.