Celebrating last-place finishes at the Olympics. Because they're there, and you're not.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

A DFL Primer

Until DFL was posted to MetaFilter Sunday night, I was working in near-complete obscurity. But now the cat's out of the bag, and you're coming by the thousand, whether from MetaFilter, elsewhere on the web, or, so I'm told, Tuesday's edition of the National Post. Since you likely haven't read my opening entry (and you should, because it sets out the philosophy of this project), let me recap what I'm trying to do here.

I'm keeping track of last-place finishers in as many events at the 2004 Athens Games as I can. They have to finish: DNFs, DNSes, DQs and NMs don't count here. I give the last-place result and compare it to the winning result in the final if it's meaningful. I never mention the gold medallist's name here -- they get enough press.

I'm also only recording events where a last-place finisher is reasonably possible to figure out. In certain events, you might have 16 people knocked out in the first round, and it would be all but impossible to figure out who came last of all. That means that I haven't been covering badminton, boxing, fencing, judo, table tennis, tennis or wrestling (so far). I'm also having trouble figuring out gymnastics.

If I've made a mistake in interpreting the results -- and boy, I know I've made several already -- and you can straighten me out, drop me a line or point it out in the entry's comments.

If you're looking for a specific event, here's how I've organized the site. The archives (see the sidebar on the right) are organized by day, and each post has an individual page as well, where comments can be left. I try to post the results either on the same day or the next; sometimes I'm late. Even if I have to go to the preliminary heats to find the last-place finisher, I wait until the finals are done.

The standings table (at right) gets updated a little while after the most recent post; it's coded by hand so it takes me a few minutes to do. Each country gets one point per last-place finish. Ties are broken by the size of the countries' Olympic delegations: it's much more impressive for two of four athletes to finish last than two of four hundred athletes. It's not meant to be taken too seriously, anyway.

Finally, I've also been posting links to stories about (or relevant to) last-place finishers. They're interesting reading, and I'm afraid they'll get lost as they drop off the front page, so here they are again.

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  • At 3:34 PM, August 24, 2004 , Blogger PhillyKat said...

    dude i'd forget trying to figure out gymnastics. the damn judges can't figure it out. i tried to figure out the tie breaking thing and had to go lay down.

  • At 3:37 PM, August 24, 2004 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    In the interest of ... just because I'm interested and you have all of the facts. Could you calculate the number of athletes per square mile and per million of population for each country entered.

  • At 4:59 PM, August 24, 2004 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    ...and could you tell us what they had for breakfast?

  • At 5:23 PM, August 24, 2004 , Blogger Matt said...

    Hey, check out this story about a Brazilian skier who finished last in the 50km cross-country ski race in Salt Lake City. He finished last but the crowd hung around until he finished...


    He actually is friend of mine originally from Detroit but his father is Brazilian and he is living in Norway now. I've heard the Olympics are a huge party for the athletes so maybe participating in any way you can isn't such a bad idea.

  • At 5:58 PM, August 24, 2004 , Blogger HL said...

    This site was a Yahoo Daily Pick


    today (8-24)

    I am enjoying your schtick. I agree.
    My blog http://hlbumpken.blogspot.com/

  • At 7:58 PM, August 24, 2004 , Blogger Grum said...

    I know it would mean a lot more work for you, but it would be kind of interesting to see how many people competed in each event that the person finished last in.

  • At 8:06 PM, August 24, 2004 , Blogger mcwetboy said...

    I do try to mention that (e.g. "she finished 41st") but I may not remember to do it in all cases.

  • At 2:53 PM, August 26, 2004 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Great site, and I think we all cheer for those who want to finish no-matter what. There is one image that came to mind and I'm sure somebody out there can name the athlete. She was a woman who finished last in the marathon and could not walk straight towards the end. She fought the volunteers that tried to take her out of the track as she entered the stadium and collapsed as soon as she crossed the line. She deserves to be in the honors list