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

Friday, August 08, 2008

Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards: 2003 NPR Interview

On a related note, here's a 2003 NPR interview with Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards, on the subject of the IOC's crackdown on wild card participants who could not meet a minimum standard. Naturally, Edwards was against it. For my take on the issue -- basically, that the desire to participate was laudable, but it reinforced an image of last-place finishers as jokes -- see this entry from 2006; see also this entry from 2004.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Jamaican Bobsled Team

Any discussion of last-place finishers at the Olympics, particularly at the Winter Olympics, would not be complete without at least mentioning Jamaica's bobsled team, which drew worldwide attention at the Calgary Games in 1988. Along with Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards (who will be the subject of a later post), they were among the high-profile "novelty acts" from those Games that no doubt spurred a tightening of the qualifying rules -- and, by the way, who make a discussion of last-place finishes so problematic: it's hard to say you're celebrating the hard work of last-place finishers to someone who's got Cool Runnings running through their head.

But that's not to knock the team. They did considerably better in subsequent Olympics and other world competitions, beating other countries' more-established teams. It's claimed that Jamaica's strength in the sprinting events in the summer events translates well to bobsledding, where a quick start means a lot. Read more about them at the team's Wikipedia entry and this article on Eurosport.com; there's also this interview with Devon "Pele" Harris, a member of the first bobsled team.

Jamaica isn't at the Torino Games; their bobsled team failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since they started.

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