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

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Predictions!

If the media had been paying attention to this blog at the start of the Games, they would have asked me for my predictions. They weren't, but in case they rediscover this blog again, here are my predictions, all ready to go for them. Now I won't have to talk to them.

You may absolutely rely on these. There is no chance that they won't come true.

The weakest comprehensive team will have the most DFLs, rather than a small country with only a few athletes. By which I mean a country with a large delegation entered in many events. The most likely candidate is the host country, which gets to enter events they might not otherwise qualify for, but this isn't always the case: Greece -- the host country -- had the most in 2004; Romania -- not the host country -- "won" in 2006.

Blogger will have at least one major outage, causing me to pull out one-third of my hair.

The media will make a story out of the last-place finisher in the marathon, in an attempt to find the next John Stephen Akhwari or Pyambu Tuul, even if the athlete himself is completely ordinary and has no compelling story.

The Canadian media will bemoan their team's lack of medals, and will blame the lack of government funding.

My hosting provider will have at least one major outage, causing me to pull out one-third of my hair.

At least one major American athlete will fail to live up to the hype. The rest of the world will generate enough Schadenfreude to power a small city for a year.

The Indian media will bemoan their team's lack of medals, and feel sorry about themselves.

My ISP will have at least one major outage, causing me to pull out one-third of my hair.

Someone will finish last in a way we've never seen before -- a way that will amaze and impress the hell out of us.

I'll save $12 on a haircut.

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Results for Wednesday, August 13

Cycling: The final two road cycling events ran today. First, the women's individual time trial, in which 24-year-old Chinese cyclist Meng Lang finished 25th. Her time of 40:51.61 was six minutes behind the gold medallist; her average speed was 34.507 km/h, compared with the gold medallist's 40.445 km/h. In the men's individual time trial, Fumiyuki Beppu, 25, of Japan finished 39th with a time of 1:11:05.14 and an average speed of 39.923 km/h; the gold medallist's time and speed were 1:02:11.43 and 45.633 km/h, respectively. These results are all more than twice as fast as I'm able to maintain on my bike, over a much shorter distance. (The women's event is 23.5 km; the men's, 47.3 km.)

Diving: The final synchronized diving event ran today: the men's three-metre platform. Here, the Australian team of Scott Robertson, 21, and Robert Newberry, 29, finished eighth. From the detailed results, it looks like their third dive did them in.

Gymnastics: To apply the DFL for the women's team medal, I go to the lowest-scored full team in the qualification round. That was Germany, for which the total team score was 230.8; the top score in that round was 248.275. For the individual events, I have a few ideas on how to apply DFL; if I can't make them work, this will be it for artistic gymnastics.

Shooting: In a turn of events that is going to make sports columnists in my country go batshit insane, Canadian Avianna Chao, 33, finished 41st in the women's 25-metre pistol. Her score was 558; at least 582 was needed to make it to the final.

Swimming: Of the four events in which medals were awarded today, three had their heats on Monday. In the women's 200-metre freestyle, heat two had the slowest time -- 2:05.71, which was put in by South Korean swimmer Lee Keora, 19. For comparison, the gold medallist's world-record time in the final was 1:54.82. Heat two was the venue for the slowest time in the men's 200-metre butterfly as well: Indonesia's Donny Budiarto Utomo, 29, finished in 2:03.44; the gold medallist in this event set a world record as well with a time of 1:52.03. Indonesia picked up another DFL in the women's 200-metre medley: in heat one, Fibriana Ratna Marita, all of 14 years old, finished with a time of 2:28.18, nearly 20 seconds behind the gold medallist's world-record final time was 2:08.45. There was one DNS. And finally, the men's 4×200-metre freestyle relay, where there were only two heats, which ran yesterday: not every country can field a full team. And the country that fielded the slowest team in this event was Brazil; their time in heat one was 7:19.54. For comparison, the gold medal final time, a world record like the others, was 6:58.56.

Weightlifting: In the women's 69-kg event, Japanese weightlifter Rika Saito, 25, finished eighth with a score of 209; the gold medallist's score was 286. There were two DNFs. A lot more competitors in the men's 77 kg, where Monegasque -- that means he's from Monaco -- weightlifter Romain Marchessou, 22, was 24th. His score was 250; the gold medallist's was 366. There were four DNFs.

Standings to date: Canada adds its fourth DFL, as many as Britain, but since Canada's team is larger it's in second place. Indonesia and Japan jump onto the board with two last-place finishes apiece; Brazil, Germany and China add their second last-place finishes.

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