Winter Olympics Skier Completes The Most Mindblowingly Average Performance Of All Time


He came in last, but became a sensation nonetheless. Blame the idiots who made the rules.

The same can be said for all those skiers representing snow-challenged countries such as the Philippines, Eritrea and Pakistan. Not surprisingly, he crossed the line last among the 116 competitors who finished the 15-kilometer event - almost 26 minutes behind the victor.

But her perseverance worked and she managed to secure a place in the Games. That's quite an accomplishment for someone who had never even been on skis until three months ago, having trained over a year on roller skates.

Do you watch the Olympics thinking, hey that doesn't look so hard, I could do that! No?

Stories like this are great.

But even that failed attempt to enter politics wasn't as audacious as what she just pulled off at the Winter Olympics. With so much emphasis put on medal counts and winning, it's easy to forget that probably 75 percent of Olympians go knowing they have no chance of a medal.

Well, if showing up is 80 percent of life, showing up for ladies' halfpipe qualifiers must be at least 80 percent when it comes to making the Olympics. Swaney didn't do any tricks at all.

For two years at the University of California, Berkeley, she was the coxswain - the person who directs the crew from the stern of the boat - for the nationally competitive men's rowing team. And work on their craft.

According to NBC Sports, there were 24 quota spots for the competition.

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Swaney did it elaborately: after failing to make the United States team, Swaney tried to compete for Venezuela, the country of her mother's birth.

If the watching fans and media were left bemused by Swaney's runs, her competitors were more supportive of her presence at the Olympics.

Swaney traveled the globe to compete in World Cup circuit events - often finding events with smaller fields where she could finish in the top 30.

She finished last with a best score of 31.40, almost 14 points behind her nearest competitor and over 40 points behind the lowest of the 12 qualified skiers.

During those competitions, which rarely had over 30 competitors, she would do a simple run and not crash. That's her gameplan: "show up and stay upright". The next closest finisher had a 45.0. There were 24 spots for the event, but that doesn't mean they go to the 24 best freestyle halfpipe skiers.

Taufatofua finished 114th in the 15K, beating out only Madrazo and Colombia's Sebastian Uprimny. And then made a mockery of the event by not even trying.

In a sport that's supposed to feature all sorts of death-defying flips and spins on a cylinder-like course, Swaney turned in a leisurely run down the hill, gently rocking back and forth, doing nothing more than easing up to the edges before turning the other way. There's so many wonderful athletes in this position; from other friends & fellow/former competitors in freestyle skiing and skeleton, to athletes in many other disciplines as well, I'm sure.

The 33-year-old American with a graduate degree from Harvard Universityis Hungary's first Olympic freestyle skier after qualifying through both the country's quota system and 13 career World Cup halfpipe contests.

Eddie The Eagle she is not.