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

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Late Results for Tuesday, February 14

Alpine Skiing: With a total of three DNSes, 19 DNFs, and three DQs, I'm amazed that anyone managed to finish the men's combined. But 35 of them did, and in 35th place was Romanian skier Florentin-Daniel Nicolae, who we last saw finishing last in the men's downhill (see previous entry). He wasn't dead last in either the downhill or the slalom portions, but those who were behind him in the downhill were ahead of him in the slalom, and vice versa. His total combined time was 3:31.89 -- 22.54 seconds behind the gold medallist.

Michelle Despain (Argentina)Luge: In the women's event, which saw a total of five DNFs (due to crashes during a run) and one DNS, Argentine sledder Michelle Despain -- a 21-year-old dual citizen from Utah -- finished 24th with a time, after four runs, of 3:27.141 -- just over 19 seconds behind the gold medallist.

Speed Skating: In the women's 500-metre event, Yulia Nemaya, 28, of Russia finished 29th, thanks to a fall during her second race; she had been in 19th place after her first race. Her total time was 112.39 seconds, or nearly 36 seconds behind the gold medallist and nearly 32 seconds behind the next-to-last-place finisher. In other words, that fall cost her more than half a minute. There was one disqualification.

Standings to date: Russia and Argentina enter the standings, and Romania, by adding its second last-place finish, moves into third place behind South Korea and Turkey.

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Melo Imai Injured

Because I did not see the women's snowboarding event (can't be everywhere; must sleep from time to time), I could only infer that Melo Imai's low score was due to a fall or a crash (see previous entry). But it turns out that the fall was quite nasty: she crashed into the lip during a trick and injured her lower back. She was airlifted to a hospital in Torino. Fortunately, it was as a precaution: her injuries were not deemed serious. More on Imai's accident from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Daily Yomiuri, and the Mainichi Daily News. Thanks to Amateur for the heads-up about this in the comments.

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Early Results for Tuesday, February 14

Biathlon: Karolis Zlatkauskas of Lithuania, who turns 21 on Sunday, finished 90th in the men's 10-kilometre sprint with a time of 34:33.8, which is 8:22.2 behind the gold medallist.

Tatiana Zavalij (Ukraine)
Muhammet Kizilarslan (Turkey)
Cross-country Skiing: In the women's team sprint (two women, three 1.1-km laps each), the slowest heat time came in the first semifinal, where the Ukrainian team of Marina Malets Lisogor, 22, and Tatiana Zavalij, 24, came eighth with a time of 19:14.1; the gold medal pair's time in the final was 16:36.9.

And in the men's team sprint (two men, three 1.3-km laps each), Turkish skiers Sabahattin Oglago -- who came last in the 30-km pursuit (see previous entry) -- and Muhammet Kizilarslan, 19, finished last in their semifinal with a time of 19:46.5; the gold medallists' time in the final was 17:02.9.

Standings to date: Turkey and Ukraine are giving South Korea a run for its money: they now have two last-place finishes each. Lithuania joins the board.

Later today: Women's luge, women's 500-metre speed skating, and the men's combined event in alpine skiing.

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Qualifying Rules: Speed Skating

Speed skating is another winter sport with hard quotas: no more than 170 athletes -- 90 men, 80 women -- can attend the Olympics in this sport. Last year the ISU set out minimum qualifying times in each event -- you had to better that time in order to attend. If, however, too many skaters meet that standard, that qualifying time would be lowered to reduce the number of athletes who qualify.

Actually, there are two qualifying times, level A and level B. National Olympic committees can send a maximum of 20 athletes -- 10 men, 10 women. But if a committee wants to register more than one skater in a given distance, all must meet the tougher level A qualifying time. Otherwise, a single athlete may be entered in that distance if he or she meets the level B standard.

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