DFL

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

Friday, February 17, 2006

Late Results for Friday, February 17

Patrick Antaki (Lebanon)Alpine Skiing: The downhill portion of the women's combined event has been postponed until tomorrow due to bad weather.

Skeleton: In the , 41-year-old Patrick Antaki, representing Lebanon, finished 27th with a combined time of 2:04.44 -- about 8½ seconds behind the gold medallist.

Standings to date: Antaki is one of only three Lebanese athletes, so his last-place finish puts Lebanon into 12th place behind Algeria.

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Qualifying Rules: Figure Skating

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 and snowboarding.

In figure skating, countries are assigned spots rather than individual athletes qualifying themselves. Each country can have no more than three per event, but if memory serves the actual number they're entitled to send depends on their skaters' results in World Figure Skating championships. In the individual events, there is a quota of 30 skaters; in pairs there are 20 teams, in ice dancing, 24. Who gets sent -- i.e., how many slots are allocated to which countries -- is mostly determined via the World Figure Skating championships; a few spots are through an international senior qualifying competition, and one spot per event is reserved for the host country -- Italy, in this case (obviously).

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Prawat Nagvajara

Prawat Nagvajara, who finished last in the men's 15-kilometre classical cross-country ski event this morning (see previous entry), is an associate professor of electrical and chemical engineering at Drexel University.

After seeing news coverage from the 1998 Nagano Games of Kenyan skier Philip Boit (who himself finished 92nd in Nagvajara's race this morning), Nagvajara, who is from Thailand, made it a goal to qualify for and attend the Olympics himself. At Salt Lake City in 2002, he was (as he was again this year) Thailand's lone athlete. He was lapped, and therefore disqualified, in the mass-start race in which he competed.

For these Games, his goal was to finish the 15K in under 50 minutes, which he didn't quite make.

At 48, he's one of the oldest athletes in Torino, and these will be his last Games. He has some interest in starting up a short-track speed skating program in Thailand, though.

More about Professor Nagvajara from the Philadelphia Inquirer and The Triangle, Drexel's student paper. Drexel has a page up to honour Professor Nagvajara; the University issued last week.

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Early Results for Friday, February 17

Prawat Nagvajara (Thailand)Cross-country Skiing: In case you're wondering, no, the skiers from Brazil, Kenya and Ethiopia did not finish last in the , though they were in the back of the pack. No, the last-place finisher was 48-year-old Prawat Nagvajara, the lone athlete from Thailand at these Games. He finished 97th; his time was 1:07:15.9, more than 29 minutes behind the gold medallist. (More on Professor Nagvajara in a moment.) Only two skiers were more than 20 minutes back; another eleven skiers were more than 10 minutes back; there were two DNFs. It looks like this event may be one of the more open ones at the Winter Games (see the qualifying rules); many of the athletes who are the sole representatives of their countries were in this race.

Julie Pomagalski (France)Snowboarding: The finals for the have not yet been run, but I'm already able to assign a last-place finish in this event based on the qualification runs. 25-year-old French boarder Julie Pomagalski was disqualified on her second run and had to make do with her first-run time of 1:36.32, which was 8.47 seconds behind the leader and left her in 23rd place; the top 16 advanced.

Standings to date: Thailand is now the first country to have as many last-place finishes as athletes; France enters the top ten.

Later today: men's skeleton; women's alpine combined.

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