Don’t dilute the quality of the Olympics for personal gain

If you watched Elizabeth Swaney stroll down the halfpipe at the Olympics and thought, “hey, that could’ve been me,” you’re not alone. 

As a fan of the games, I tune in not to watch just anyone, but rather  to see the best in the world compete. More often than not, professional athletes and Olympians do things the average person could never do. Unfortunately for me, Swaney’s performance wasn’t anything beyond what the average amateur skier could do. 

After competing in World Cup events for the last few years, Swaney qualified for the Olympic ski halfpipe competition in Pyeongchang. Because of a combination of injuries and other countries not using all their allotted spots, the lower-ranked Swaney was allowed to compete for Hungary.  

In the days following her participation at the Olympics, two camps have grown out of the viral sensation that Swaney has become. Should the Olympics be reserved for only the best athletes? Or should anyone be allowed to compete?

Even though we don’t typically hear from these athletes until the Winter or Summer games roll around, Olympians often have some of the most interesting backstories in sport. In the days leading up to the games and their events, fans are caught up with how the athlete has sacrificed everything they have in hopes of one day represent their country.

At a level where most people have dedicated their lives to perfecting their craft, Swaney’s mediocre skills cheapens the title of being an Olympian.

In response to everything that has recently transpired, the International Olympic Committee and the Hungarian National team have discussed tightening the rules which decide the qualification limits for the Olympics. It’s something I couldn’t agree with more. 

If Swaney really wanted to go to the Olympics, she should’ve just bought a ticket. 

 

Joseph is The Journal’s Editor in Chief. He is a fifth-year history student. 

 

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