In the spring of 2018, I gave a lecture on courage to the San Francisco chapter of Creative Mornings. After the talk, Elizabeth Swaney approached me and asked for tips on personal storytelling. I offered a few and then asked her about her story. She shared that she was a 2018 Winter Olympian.

Having never met an Olympian before, I was intrigued and so we exchanged contact information and met for coffee the following week.


A quick google search of Elizabeth’s name produced a series of (mostly) unflattering headlines about her performance at the 2018 Games but something didn’t seem right. The character being drawn in the profiles that had been published didn’t match the woman that I met after the lecture or in subsequent coffee conversations.

In Fall 2018, I pitched the story to Pop Up Magazine and was invited to join their 2019 Winter Tour with the story “The Olympian." "The Olympian" is a profile on Elizabeth which explores her past, road to the Olympics, and the disparity between how male and female athletes are treated when they don’t meet our performance expectations.


I performed the piece to sold out crowds in six cities (LA, Oakland, NYC, D.C., Atlanta, and Austin). The picture to the right was shot by fellow Pop Up contributor Sam Green during the performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. All other performance pictures were shot by Jon Snyder.