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Elizabeth Swaney's last place finish makes headlines worldwide


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The internet is a mix of sneering, jeering and begrudging respect for the ingenuity of Elizabeth Swaney, who realised her Olympic dream this week.

I don't think anyone could have predicted the last place finisher in the women’s half pipe event at the Winter Olympic would garner worldwide headlines.

Sports fans were left confused when they saw Swaney hit the half-pipe and casually glide back-and-forth in a basic run devoid of any tricks at the Winter Olympics.

Swaney, an American, competed for Hungary after approaching their Olympic committee to offer to represent the nation. She basically said 'I can go if you have nobody else going'.

Hungary didn’t have a competitor lined up for the event, so having confirmed Swaney had reached the required qualification standard, she got the green light to fly the flag.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Hungarian ski coach Márton Stark to Index: &quot;Swaney&#39;s results seemed to be OK. We saw a video, it raised our suspicions, but she told it was training only. We only saw in the last minute that she didn&#39;t improve.But should we have told her to forfeit or announce an injury/illness?&quot;</p>&mdash; Gergely Marosi (@emgergo) <a href="https://twitter.com/emgergo/status/965665063452409856?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 19, 2018</a></blockquote>

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The 33-year-old only took up freestyle skiing in 2013 with the aim of achieving a dream and making it to the Olympics. She initially represented her mother’s country of birth Venezuela, before switching her allegiance to Hungary, home of her grandparents.

Swaney spent two years attending qualifying events with 30 athletes or less which meant a guaranteed a top 30 finish.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">How freeskier Elizabeth Swaney made it to the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WinterOlympics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WinterOlympics</a> with this very simple halfpipe run: <a href="https://t.co/enfDyoQjGC">https://t.co/enfDyoQjGC</a> <a href="https://t.co/kHTAV7XND4">pic.twitter.com/kHTAV7XND4</a></p>&mdash; NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) <a href="https://twitter.com/NBCOlympics/status/965746567192997889?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 20, 2018</a></blockquote>

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The ranking points accumulated by getting those results granted her a place at the Olympics - where she naturally finished last.

The Hungarian Ski Federation say they are deeply embarrassed and admit they had never seen her ski before.

Swaney says competing at the Olympics was a dream come true, but admits she was disappointed with her performance.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been satisfied with my halfpipe runs, and I don’t think a lot of skiers are,” she said.

“I haven’t been as confident as I wanted to be to go higher out of the pipe and just really go for these bigger tricks.”

<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ElizabethSwaney?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ElizabethSwaney</a> (US) gamed the system, used her grandparents to join the Hungarian team. No tricks. 30/100. Last place.<br>Which is only one place better than me! <a href="https://twitter.com/kevinandbean?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@kevinandbean</a> <a href="https://t.co/3zrgre63P3">pic.twitter.com/3zrgre63P3</a></p>&mdash; Kevin Ryder (@thekevinryder) <a href="https://twitter.com/thekevinryder/status/965731380507262976?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 19, 2018</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Hungarian Ski Federation on Elizabeth Swaney:&quot;The situation was mainly caused by the qualification system and few participants. It is a fact that we have not seen Elizabeth in action the last year, we realised her level at the Olympics. She self-funded her preparation&amp;qualifying&quot;</p>&mdash; Gergely Marosi (@emgergo) <a href="https://twitter.com/emgergo/status/965609401846587397?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 19, 2018</a></blockquote>

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