Sunday, August 29, 2004
Handball: The medal finals were held today. In the women's 9/10 classification match Thursday, Greece lost to Angola 38-23 and finished 10th; they were 0-4 in the preliminaries. Egypt lost 30-24 to Slovenia in the men's 11/12 classification match and finished 12th; they were 0-5 in the preliminaries.
Volleyball: In men's volleyball, Australia won fewer sets than Tunisia, so while they both finished the prelims with 0-5 records and are ranked tied for 11th, I'm awarding the last-place finish to Australia.
Water Polo: Egypt was 0-5 in the preliminary round of men's water polo and on Friday lost the 11/12 classification match to Kazakhstan 15-7, so they finished 12th.
Standings to date: Cape Verde is the 103rd (and possibly final) country to make the standings. Thanks to last-place finishes in team sports for which it was able to qualify, Egypt makes a last-minute dash for the "top", Australia slips into second place and Greece -- which, as host country, was able to enter a number of team events that it might not otherwise qualify for -- solidifies its lead with 13 last-place finishes, five more than Australia.
All that's left now is the marathon, which is in progress now.
The news media has historically covered the last-place finisher of the Olympic marathon, from the great John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania in 1968 ("My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me to finish the race.") to Pyambu Tuul in 1992 and A Baser Wasiqi in 1996. It's like the first baby of the new year: the media gravitates to it because they love a good human-interest story.
It'll be a few hours before the marathon is finished, but I'd like to put out a general request to my readers: If you see a news report about the marathon's last-place finisher, please let me know. I'll get it up here as quick as I can. I'm very interested to see how the media will handle it this time. (I'll be looking at the results, myself, but will be keeping an eye out for this as well.) Thanks very much.
Basketball: On the women's side, South Korea finished 12th with an 0-6 record. It was the same result for Angola on the men's side: they too finished 0-6 and 12th.
Canoe/Kayak (Flatwater Racing): Men's 500-metre K1: For some reason the Athens 2004 site isn't covering the results of heat four, where Steven Ferguson (see previous entries: New Zealand Kayaking Controversy, Steven Ferguson Update) finished last with the slowest time of 2:06.937. He had to work at it to finish last, though, because the next slowest kayaker was only four seconds ahead of him, and though that kayaker was a good 15 seconds behind everyone else, he qualified for the semifinal. Ferguson was the only one not to do so -- which is, of course, what he wanted. Men's 500-metre C1: This one's tricky, because everybody made it out of the prelims and posted different results in the semis -- i.e., the person with the slowest time in the prelims was not the same as the one slowest in the semis. To square this circle, I'm going to go to the slowest semifinal time, which was put in by Emanuel Horvaticek of Croatia and which was the slowest time overall: 2:06.347. Women's 500-metre K1: Thi Cach Doan of Vietnam had the slowest heat time, 2:06.126, but Indonesia's Sarce Aronggear was the only competitor not to advance from the prelims, so the last-place finish goes to her rather than Thi. (I'm really having to split hairs in these events!) Men's 500-metre K2: The Chinese twosome of Yijun Yin and Lei Wang had the slowest time in the prelims, made the semis, and finished last there. They were about eight seconds behind the winner in each case. Men's 500-metre C2: Americans Jordan Malloch and Nathan Johnson finished last in the repechage here, too. Women's 500-metre K2: Paula Harvey and Susan Tegg of Australia also finished last in their repechage.
Cycling: In the men's mountain bike event, Emmanouil Kotoulas of Greece placed 45th, three laps back, with no time recorded. There were five DNFs.
Diving: In the prelims for the men's 10-metre platform, Andras Hajnal of Hungary finished 33rd with a score of 305.79 -- 207.27 points behind the leader in the preliminaries (who went on to win silver). No diving accidents, just low marks.
Football: Serbia-Montenegro finished 16th.
Rhythmic Gymnastics: Poland finished 10th in the group all-around qualification with a total score of 41.775; qualifiers had scores of between 44.600 and 49.875.
Sailing: In the tornado class, Mauricio Santa Cruz Oliveira and Joao Carlos Jordao finished 17th with 172 total points and 155 net points -- the winners had 48 and 34 points, respectively. And in the star class, Mark Mansfield and Killian Collins finished 17th (142 total, 125 net; the winners had 60 total, 42 net).
Volleyball: Kenya was 0-5 and had less good results than the other 0-5 team, so instead of awarding an 11th-place tie to both, I'm assigning the last-place finish to Kenya.
Standings to date: More than half the countries at these Games now have at least one last-place finish. Australia moves into third place and China moves past Uzbekistan and France to make the top five.
Labels: angola, athens 2004, athletics, australia, basketball, brazil, canoe-kayak, china, croatia, cycling, diving, football, greece, hungary, indonesia, ireland, kenya, new zealand, pakistan, poland, rhythmic gymnastics, russia, sailing, senegal, serbia-montenegro, south korea, spain, suriname, ukraine, usa, volleyball
Incidentally, this story in yesterday's New Zealand Herald, which highlights the Ferguson story but talks about coming in last in general, is pretty good.