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

Friday, February 24, 2006

Great DFLs in History

If you're new to the site, you might not be aware that in addition to the last-place finishes at the Games going on at the time I'm blogging (Athens in 2004, Torino now), I've also blogged about notable last-place finishes -- from the inspiring to the jaw-dropping -- in the past. You could dig through the site archives (see the calendar on the right-hand sidebar) to find them or, you could use the following list:There are others, of course -- Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards and John Stephen Akhwari come to mind -- but these are most of the ones I've blogged about so far.

(Note that, strictly speaking, these aren't true DFLs as I define them in the standings here -- some are in finals or heats -- but they're in the right spirit, if you follow me.)


Results for Friday, February 24

Only a few events to report on today; the Games are definitely beginning to wind down. Tomorrow will be much bigger, though.

Mirella Arnhold (Brazil)Alpine Skiing: The last women's event in alpine skiing was the giant slalom, where 22-year-old Mirella Arnhold of Brazil was 43rd with a time after two runs of 2:49.17 -- about 40 seconds off the pace. As usual, a huge number of competitors did not complete the race: 18 DNFs, three DNSes and one disqualification.

Cross-country Skiing: The big long ski on the women's side is the mass start 30-km free, which saw Romanian skier Monika Gyorgy, 23, come in 50th. Her time was 1:35:25.4, or 13 minutes behind the gold medallist. There were 11 DNFs and one DNS.

Charles Ryan Leveille Cox (USA)Speed Skating: In the penultimate long-track event, the gruelling men's 10,000-metre, American skater Charles Ryan Leveille Cox, 22, was 15th. His time of 14:14.81 was quite a bit off the pace -- more than a minute thirteen behind the gold medallist and nearly half a minute behind the next-to-last-place finisher -- but keep in mind that, even as the slowest skater in that field, he skated more than six miles in less than 15 minutes. Just try to wrap your head around that for a moment. There was one disqualification.

Standings to date: To my surprise, Romania is strengthening its hold on the lead with a sixth last-place finish. Brazil has its first last-place finish -- to my surprise, they have more athletes here than Bosnia or Lithuania, countries with actual, palpable snow. And the Americans also enter the board, finally; I was wondering when they'd show up.

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Qualifying Rules: Bobsled, Luge & Skeleton

Part of a series looking at just how hard it is to get to the Olympics; see previous posts on biathlon and cross country skiing, ski jumping and nordic combined, speed skating, short track, snowboarding, figure skating, freestyle skiing and curling and hockey.

If I'm going to talk about the Jamaicans not qualifying for Torino, then I should at least mention the qualifying rules for the sledding events.

Bobsled: A total quota of 170 athletes (135 men, 35 women) and a maximum of nine men and five women from each country. Countries earn spots on a per-pilot basis based on their performance in World Cup, European Challenge Cup, and North American Challenge Cup events: the World Cup results qualify 22 two-man, 20 four-man and 15 women pilots; the European and North American events provide four and two pilots, respectively, to the two-man and four-man events. The host country gets to enter a team in each event, as does each continent.

Luge: There is a total quota of 110 athletes -- 40 men, 30 women, and 20 doubles -- and a per-country quota of 10 (three men, three women, two doubles). Countries can fill their slots from the pool of qualified athletes; to qualify, athletes must either participate in five World Cup events and receive at least five points by the end of December, or score a certain number of points in a World Cup competition -- 10 for men, 20 for women, and 25 points for doubles.

Skeleton: A total of 45 athletes -- 30 men, 15 women -- can participate, with no more than five (three men, two women) from any one country. On the men's side, athletes from the top 12 countries in the World Cup qualify, plus the first eight athletes in the Challenge Cup; the women's pool is smaller: the top eight countries and the top four athletes, respectively. Add to that one each from the host country and one each from each continent that would otherwise go unrepresented.

These rules are complicated and I can't say that I understand them all. In particular, I'm not sure how national eligibility relates to individual eligibility in these events. But at least this indicates that there are basic qualifying standards to be met, and quotas. And presumably these have been in place long enough that the Jamaicans have actually met them from time to time.

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