This article originally appeared on VICE Canada. I haven’t been following the Olympics closely this year. Even the hysteria over whether or not Canadian ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are fucking has mostly skipped over my head.
But as I sat in the office on a rainy Tuesday morning after a long weekend, contemplating what I’m doing with my life and feeling cranky about having to file a story, Olympian Elizabeth Swaney’s exceedingly mediocre freestyle skiing run—in which she didn’t perform a single trick while going down the half-pipe—caught my eye.
“What can she deliver on here in Pyeongchang?” asked one commentator in a clip of Swaney’s brief and basic run posted to Youtube. Though the answer was "not much," another commentator attempted to describe the run in the following colorful terms:
“Just getting up to the top of the wall, going for these grabs, the safety grab that you’ll see there… Cruising up to the top of the wall, showing the judges she can make it down this half-pipe clean.”
Swaney, 33, who is representing Hungary in the games, apparently qualified for the Olympics by gaming the system; she went to world events that featured fewer than 30 competitors and essentially tried not to fall down. According to Deadspin, in December, Swaney cleverly attended a half-pipe event in China when more serious competitors were at a different contest in Colorado.
The footage of Swaney’s Olympic half-pipe run has gone viral, and she’s being thoroughly dragged for sucking. But I actually think the idea of a woman failing up is a nice change. Sometimes not falling on our asses is the best we can hope for.