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

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Results for Tuesday, August 12

Canoe/Kayak (Slalom): In yesterday's men's C1 heats, 23-year-old Siboniso Cele of South Africa finished 16th; only the top 12 advanced to the semifinal; only the top eight advanced to the final. Cele accumulated 50 penalty seconds in his first run, which put him well out of contention. Something similar happened to two kayakers in the men's K1 heats, but while Ding Fuxue of China, 28, had a couple of seconds' fewer penalties, he put in a slower time; he finished 21st.

Diving: Great Britain is not having a good time at the pool: the team of Tonia Couch, 19, and Stacie Powell, 22, finished eighth with a score of 303.48 in women's synchronized 10-metre platform diving. Their score was 60.06 points behind the gold medallists.

Equestrian: Eventing has finally wrapped up. France finished 11th in the team event, due to the fact that they had to include the score of an eliminated horse and rider (teams are scored using the top three results, though most countries arrive with four or five riders). Individual scoring ran concurrently, and the individual jumping final is imminent. But, since the final only includes the top 25 (limited to three per country), we can safely assign a last-place result here as well, based on the results so far. Canada's Samantha Taylor, 25, riding Livewire, 10, finished 56th with 188.3 penalty points -- 134.1 points behind the leader. A total of 14 horse-and-rider pairs were either eliminated or withdrew.

Gymnastics is extremely difficult to report on, because a number of medal events are derived from the same qualifying round, as far as I can tell. In 2004 I gave up on trying to report on the individual events and limited myself to the team scores. Unless someone can hold my hand and show me how this time, I'll do the same again for 2008. So. In the men's qualification round, the Italian team was 12th with a total score of 355.5; the top team score in the qualification round was 374.675. Note that there were a number of individual gymnasts competing without a team in this round.

Shooting: Nikola Saranović, 39, of Montenegro finished 45th in the men's 50-metre air pistol. His score in the qualifying round was 535; 559 was needed to advance to the final. In the men's double trap, Canadian Giuseppe Di Salvatore, 18, finished 19th with a qualifying score of 109; he would have needed at least 136 to have a shot a the final.

Swimming: The heats for today's finals took place on Sunday. First, the men's 200-metre freestyle, where, in heat one (of course), Emanuele Nicolini of San Marino, 24, put in a time of 1:59.47. For comparison, the gold medallist's time in the final was 1:42.96. There was one DNS in the heats. Next, the women's 100-metre backstroke, where, again in heat one, 18-year-old Panamanian swimmer Christie Marie Bodden Baca's time was 1:07.18 -- compare that to the gold medallist's time of 58.96 seconds in the final. There was one disqualification and one DNS in the heats. Now for the men's 100-metre backstroke: Mohammad Rubel Rana of Bangladesh, 25, put in a time of 1:04.82 in heat one. That's more than 12 seconds behind the gold medallist's final time. And finally, the women's 100-metre breaststroke (stop sniggering). In heat one, 24-year-old Mariam Pauline Keita of Mali had a time of 1:24.26; the gold medallist's time in the final was 1:05.17.

Weightlifting: Bolivia's Maria Teresa Monasterio, 38, finished 17th in the women's 63 kg. Her score was 141, 100 points behind the gold medallist; there were two DNFs and one DNS. Meanwhile, in the men's 69 kg, Nizom Sangov of Tajikistan, 25, finished 24th with a score of 250 -- 98 points behind the gold medallist; there were six DNFs.

Standings to date: Now things are starting to get interesting. Britain, home of Eddie the Eagle, maintains its hold atop the DFL standings with four, but Canada adds two to move into second place. San Marino and South Africa add their second DFLs.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Results for Monday, August 11

Archery: I've been able to figure out last-place results for the team archery events. The scores in the ranking round won't work because, in the men's team event, the team with the lowest score in the ranking round went on to win a medal. So it's the lowest score in the 1/8 round that is meaningful for our purposes. In the women's team event, which ran yesterday, that meant the Colombian team of Ana Maria Rendon, 22, Sigrid Romero, 19, and Natalia Sanchez, 25. They had a score of 199; the highest score in the event was 231, a world record, which came in the semi-finals. In today's men's team event, the lowest score -- 210 -- was put in by the British team of Laurence Godfrey, 32, Simon Terry, 34, and Alan Wills, 27. The gold medallists' score in the final was 227, an Olympic record.

Diving: The results from the men's synchronized 10-metre platform event are in; British divers Blake Aldridge, 26, and Thomas Daley, 14 -- that's right, this kid -- finished eighth with a score of 408.48 -- 59.7 points behind. I have to see some footage of this: how a 14-year-old and a 26-year-old can stay in sync is something I want to see.

Shooting: In the men's 10-metre air rifle, 21-year-old Saso Nestorov of Macedonia finished 51st with a qualifying-round score of 558; it took at least 595 to make it to the final. In the women's trap, Namibian Gaby Diana Ahrens, 27, was 20th. Her qualifying-round score was 52; the lowest score to qualify for the final was 67.

Swimming: Four more swimming medals today, but we go back to Saturday and Sunday for the lowest heat times in these events. In heat one (naturally) of the women's 100-metre butterfly, the slowest time was that of 24-year-old Simona Muccioli of San Marino. Her heat time of 1:04.91 was eight seconds behind the gold medallist's final time. In heat one of the men's 100-metre breaststroke, a rather slow performance of 1:20.20 -- more than 21 seconds behind the gold medallist's final time -- was put in by Petero Okatai, 27, of the Cook Islands. The heats had one DNS and one disqualification. In the women's 400-metre freestyle, it's heat one again: 19-year-old Shrone Austin, swimming for the Seychelles, with a time of 4:35.86 -- more than 32 seconds behind the gold medallist's final time, but keep in mind that this event is four times as long as the previous two. Think of it as eight seconds per hundred metres. And finally, the men's 4×100-metre freestyle relay. Relays are by nature more competitive, since the basic requirement is at least four good athletes per country -- Bhutan won't have a relay team, for example. There were two heats in this relay; the slowest time came in heat one from the German quad of Steffen Deibler, 21, Jens Schreiber, 25 , Benjamin Starke, 22, and Paul Biedermann, 22. Their time of 3:17.99 was 9.75 seconds behind the gold medallists' final, but that was a world record -- and in their own heat, they were only 5.76 seconds behind that same gold medal team. There was one disqualification.

Weightlifting: In the women's 58 kg, 20-year-old Wendy Hale of the Solomon Islands came 12th with a score of 173; the gold medallist's score was 244. My own country, Canada, gets its first DFL in the men's 62 kg: Jasvir Singh, 31, finished 12th with a score of 266; the gold medallist's score was 319, and there were five DNFs.

Standings to date: Great Britain, with three last-place finishes to date, moves into an undisputed lead. No one else has more than a single last-place finish.

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