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

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Results for Sunday, August 10

Cycling: The women's road race had a lot fewer DNFs than the men's race did yesterday: 4 vs. 53. I wonder if that means conditions were better today. But then there were also fewer competitors over a shorter distance (126 km). In any event, 21-year-old Aurelie Halbwachs of Mauritius came 62nd with a time of 3:52:11 -- nearly 20 minutes behind the winner, and 20 seconds behind the penultimate cyclist.

Diving: We start with synchronized diving, where, in the women's three-metre springboard, the British team of Tandi Gerrard, 30, and Hayley Sage, 22, finished eighth. The fact that there are only eight teams should give you an idea of what it's like even to qualify for this event. Their score of 278.25 was 65.25 points behind the gold medallists.

Shooting: Carolina Lozado, 37, of Uruguay finished 43rd in the qualifying round of the women's 10-metre air pistol event, with a score of 367. It took a score of 384 or better to make it to the final. There was one DNF. In men's trap shooting, Filipino Eric Ang, also 37, finished 35th with a score of 106; those who advanced to the finals has scores between 119 and 121.

Swimming: Four swimming events had their finals today, but for my purposes I have to go back to yesterday's heats to find my last-place finishers, who I will somewhat arbitrarily define as the person putting in the slowest time in the heats. (This is a little problematic if the slowest time in the event is in a semifinal or final, but I have to pick something, if I can.) In the men's 400-metre individual medley, the slowest time was produced in heat one by 22-year-old Hocine Haciane Constatin of Andorra: 4:32.00. (The gold medallist, you may have heard, put a time in of 4:03.84 in the final.) Heat one is also where the slowest time came in the men's 400-metre freestyle (this does not appear to be an accident); Kazakh Oleg Rabota, 18, put in a time of 4:02.16. (For comparison, the gold medallist's final time was 3:41.86.) There was one DNS in another heat. In the women's 400-metre individual medley, it was heat one again, where 18-year-old Thai swimmer Nimitta Thaveesupsoonthorn's time was 5:02.18. (The gold medallist's time was 4:29.45 in the final.) There was one DNS in Nimitta's heat. And finally, the women's 4×100 freestyle relay, which had only two heats: in the second heat, the South African team of Melissa Corfe, Wendy Trott, Mandy Loots and Katheryn Meaklim finished seventh (there was a DNS) with a time of 3:51.14; the gold medal team's time in the final was 3:33.76.

Weightlifting: 22-year-old Venezuelan Judith Andrea Chacon finished ninth in a field of nine in the women's 53-kg event; she had a score of 181, compared to the gold medallist's 221. In the men's 56-kg event, Moldovan Igor Grabucea, 32, finished 15th with a score of 239; the gold medallist's score was 292, and there were four DNFs.

A medal was awarded in archery, but it does not appear that I'll be able to award a last place in that sport -- at least not in the team events.

Standings to date: No country has more than one last-place finish at this point, but since Andorra has fewer athletes at the Games than the others, it displaces Nicaragua for the nominal lead.

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Saturday, August 28, 2004

Results for Friday, August 27

Athletics: Men's 50-km walk: Janos Toth of Hungary finished 41st with a time of 4:29:33, nearly 51 minutes behind the winning time of 3:38:46 and a bit more than 9 minutes behind finisher number 40. There were eight DNFs and five DQs for breaking into a run. Men's pole vault: Several vaulters only cleared the opening height of 5.30 metres and no more, but the last-place finish goes, in a tie, to Kim Yoo-Suk (pun not intended) of Korea and Marios Evaggelou of Greece, because they only cleared 5.30 metres on their third attempt. The winner cleared 5.95 metres in the final. Five vaulters received no mark. Women's long jump: Svetlana Pessova of Turkmenistan's best jump in the prelims was 5.64 metres; the winner's best jump in the final was 7.07 metres. Two jumpers received no mark. Women's javelin: Samoan Patsy Selafina Akeli had a best throw of 45.93 metres; the winner's best final throw was 71.53 metres. One athlete received no mark. Men's 110-metre hurdles: Edy Jakariya of Indonesia had the slowest heat time of 14.11 seconds; the winner's final time was 12.91 seconds. Women's 10,000 metre: Natalia Cherches (mais elle ne le trouve pas) of Moldova finished 27th with a time of 34:04.97; the winner's time was 30:24.36. Four DNFs (including Paula Radcliffe, since some of you are probably wondering). Women's 4×100 relay: Greece widens its lead with a reasonably respectable (it seems to me) 44.45-second result in the prelims; the winning time in the final was 41.73 seconds, and there were three DNFs, two in the heats and one in the final.

Canoe/Kayak (Flatwater Racing): I'm guessing that wind was a factor in these events, because in many cases the slowest times were in the final -- everyone, including the winners, was slower. In many cases I'm going to have to go to place rather than time. Men's 1,000-metre K1: Tony Lespoir (Seychelles) had the slowest time in the prelims at 4:17.128, at least half a minute behind anyone else; the winner's final time was 3:25.897. Men's 1,000-metre C1: Paddling for Croatia, Emanuel Horvaticek's time of 4:27.115 was just marginally slower than the next-slowest preliminary result, but both of them were well back; the winner's time in the final was 3:46.201. Women's 500-metre K4: The foursome from the United States were the only team not to advance to the final. Men's 1,000-metre K2: Danila Turchin and Michail Tarasov (Uzbekistan) were the only team not to advance from the first round. Men's 1,000-metre C2: Jordan Malloch and Nathan Johnson (United States) finished last in the repechage. Men's 1,000-metre K4: The foursome from Uzbekistan did not make it out of the repechage. (I'm not sure they call it a repechage, but it functions as one: top finishers in the prelims get a bye to the final, where the bottom end competes in a semifinal where one or more may be eliminated.)

Cycling: In the women's mountain bike event, Cypriot Elina Sofocleous finished 24th. No time was recorded; she was two laps back. Six riders did not finish.

Equestrian: Argentina's Federico Sztyrle finished 77th; he and his horsie, "Who Knows Lilly", retired after the first qualifier.

Field Hockey: After an 0-5 record in the pool matches and losses to South Africa and Argentina in the classification round, Egypt finished 12th in men's field hockey. George Brink wrote in with the following commentary about Egypt's feat in qualifying for the Games:
The automatic qualifiers for the Games are the Continental Champions so while the other game features the European Champions and the Oceania Champions the last place game had the Pan American Champions, Argentina, and the African Champions, Egypt, in it. Egypt won the African Championships as a complete surprise by beating African powerhouse South Africa so it would have been difficult to get a decent bet on them coming last in the Games. Egypt happily fulfilled expectations by losing the 11th/12th place playoff to Argentina, who for most were complete surprise contenders for this position. Still congratulations to Egypt for getting to their first Olympic Games ever.

Modern Pentathlon: Thanks to a DNF in the equestrian portion, Federica Foghetti of Italy finished 32nd with 4,228 points and was 5:05 behind the winner, who had 5,448 points. Due to the horsey problems in both modern pentathlon events, competitors will be given a choice of mounts in 2008: (1) horse; (2) camel; (3) yak; and (4) Komodo dragon -- cloned velociraptors are not likely to be ready by that time.

Synchronized Swimming: Only eight entrants in the team synchronized swimming event, and Greece finished eighth; their score of 92.750 was 6.751 points behind that of the winners.

Standings to date: What can I say? Greece, Greece and more Greece: Greece's lead widens with three more last-place finishes, eleven overall. The United States and Uzbekistan, with two more last-place finishes each from the canoe/kayak events, take third and fourth places. Croatia, Indonesia and the Seychelles make their first appearances. And Samoa joins Brunei and Somalia in the 100 per cent club -- with as many last-place finishes as athletes.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Results for Tuesday, August 24

Athletics: Women's 5,000 metre: This should have been in yesterday's results, but I somehow missed it. Sonia O'Sullivan of Ireland finished 14th with a time of 16:20.90, more than a minute behind the next-to-last finisher and about 95 seconds behind the leader; she appears to have trailed badly at the end. There was one DNF. [Correction] Women's pole vault: Alejandra García of Argentina and Silke Spiegelburg of Germany tied for 13th place with a jump of 4.20 metres on the third attempt; the twelfth-place finisher also vaulted 4.20 but did so on the second attempt, and as a result was ranked higher. The winner vaulted 4.91 metres; one athlete failed to clear the minimum height and received no mark. Men's 3,000-metre steeplechase: In show jumping for humans, Polish runner Jakub Czaja's time of 8:56.24 was the slowest in the heats; the winner's final time was 8:05.81. There were two DNSes and one DNF in the heats. Women's 100-metre hurdles: Canadians may be bemoaning the result in the final (we're very good at bemoaning, actually), but the slowest time in the heats was put in by Maria Joelle Conjungo of the Central African Republic -- 14.24 seconds, compared with the winner's time of 12.37 seconds in the final. Women's 400 metre: Libyan runner Ruwita El Hubti's time of 1:03.57 was the slowest in the heats, but two other runners put in times in excess of a minute. The winner's final time was 49.41 seconds. Men's decathlon: Of 30 athletes competing, Victor Covalenko of Moldova had the lowest score, 6,543 points. The winner had 8,893 points. Victor was the only competitor to score fewer than 7,000 points, but hey, this is the decathlon, okay? Men's 1,500 metre: Despite media expectations that he would be the next Eric the Eel, Robert Caraciolo Mandje did not finish DFL in this event. I'm pleased to report that he came in third-last. (I love it when expectations are confounded.) Instead, Jimmy Anak Ahar of Brunei Darussalam put in the slowest heat time of 4:14.11. Each of the three slowest runners put in times above four minutes; the winner's final time was 3:34.18.

Cycling: In the men's points race, Wong Kam-Po of Hong Kong finished 20th with two points, compared to the winner's 93. Three competitors did not finish. In the women's sprint qualifying round, Evgenia Radanova of Bulgaria finished 12th with a time of 12.457 seconds and a speed of 57.798 km/h; the winner's time and speed in the qualifying were 11.291 seconds and 63.767 km/h, respectively. And in the qualifyings for the men's sprint, German cyclist Stefan Nimke finished 19th (11.338 seconds, 63.503 km/h; the winner's results were 10.177 seconds and 70.747 km/h in the qualifyings).

Diving: The men's 3-metre springboard wrapped up today; in the preliminaries yesterday, Justin Wilcock of the United States finished 32nd with a score of 225.87, 291.72 behind the leader in that round. Justin received a score of zero for his fifth dive, so something unfortunate must have happened, but he was trailing throughout.

Equestrian: They awarded the team jumping medals today; Mexico had the most penalties -- 70 -- after the first round and, like the other teams that did not make the top 10, did not advance to the second round.

Weightlifting started with little tiny people hauling giant weights; now the guys are getting much bigger. And the weights much heavier. Today it was the men's 105-kg class, and Eleei Ilalio of American Samoa was 16th, lifting a total of 295 kg. The winner lifted a combined total of 425 kg, and all but the bottom two were within a few kilos of 400. Six lifters were DNF; all of them trying to lift more weight than Eleei did -- and failing at it.

Standings to date: Poland moves into second place and Bulgaria and Germany make big moves up the board. But the big story is Brunei Darussalam, whose single athlete finished last in his single event. That means that Brunei has scored a perfect 100 per cent in the last-place sweepstakes -- though I suppose that percentages greater than 100 are theoretically possible if an athlete enters, and finishes last in, more than one event. Still!

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