Liz Swaney says her underwhelming halfpipe run wasn’t always the plan

The Olympian went on the 'Today' show to discuss her recent performance.

Liz Swaney Olympics
Elizabeth Marian Swaney, of Hungary, runs the course during the women's halfpipe qualifying at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics. –AP Photo/Kin Cheung

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A modest run on the halfpipe wasn’t always what freestyle skier Elizabeth Swaney had in mind for her Olympic debut.

“I never had a plan to do kind of the run I did,” she told ‘Today’ hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb Wednesday. “I wanted to do more than that, so it wasn’t a strategy. I’ve always tried to give it my all.”

Swaney — who finished last, 24th out of 24, in the women’s halfpipe qualifying round — made headlines for her daringly tentative approach to the event. Executing only the most basic of moves, the 33-year-old scored a 31.40 on a 100-point scale.


Swaney insists, however, her low marks are by no means reflective of a lackadaisical approach to the sport.

“I actually always try to give my best in the halfpipe,” she told Guthrie and Kotb. “I’m always trying to work on my skiing.”

The California native of Hungarian descent explained how she performs a variety of tricks — including front flips, back flips, and 540- and 720-degree rotations — on water ramps, with hopes of integrating those elements into her freestyle routine.

But she’s not quite there yet.

“The goal has always been to hopefully incorporate those into the halfpipe,” she said. “I’m just not comfortable landing the water tricks on snow. I’m trying to figure out a way to cross that bridge.”

Although she seemingly understands her performance pales in comparison to those of her competitors, Swaney also finds it a bit odd that people are criticizing her for doing no tricks.

“I actually did three tricks my second run: two alley-oops — one on the right wall, one of the left wall — and a 360 at the end, riding switch out,” she clarified. “So it’s a little strange to hear that I did one trick or zero tricks.”


Even so, Swaney said she takes every piece of feedback in stride.

“I try to take every comment, whether it’s positive or negative, and build that into my life as something constructive that I can work on,” she said.


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