DFL

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

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Correction: Ski Jumping

The problem with being a tyro is that occasionally you screw up magnificently.

In ski jumping, I derived my last-place finisher from the first round of each event. Trouble is, if I had known anything at all about ski jumping at the Olympic level, I'd know that there was a qualification round before the first round. (How much sense does that make?) In any event, a lot of athletes get eliminated in that round, and, if I'm looking at the lowest score generated at the Olympics, then I have to include them.

Which means that my previously reported results for two ski jumping events -- for the normal hill (K90) and the large hill (K120) -- are incorrect. Not only that, but the overall last-place standings have been out of whack all week.

Well, it wouldn't be an Olympics if I didn't bollix up my coverage at least once. Anyway, here are the corrected results:

In the NH individual qualification round, which ran a week ago (the final was Sunday), 16 jumpers did not advance. Last among these was Bulgarian Georgi Zharkov, 29, whose jump received a score of 77.5. He finished 51st.

In the LH individual qualification round, which ran yesterday (the final ran today), a total of 18 jumpers did not make the cut. Last among these was 23-year-old Choi Yong-Jik of South Korea, whose jump received a score of 22.8. He finished 53rd.

In both events, 35 jumpers qualified; another 15 were pre-qualified.

Impact on the standings: Guess what? As of today, South Korea's back atop the standings, with as many last-place finishes as Russia but one-quarter the athletes. Bulgaria, with its second last-place finish, moves up the board to eighth. Estonia moves back down (to 23rd; it shouldn't have made its debut until today) and Canada leaves altogether.

Thanks to this anonymous commenter for pointing out my boo-boo.

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Late Results for Saturday, February 18

Short Track Speed Skating: This is always a complicated event to report, especially when the slowest athlete in the heats nevertheless qualifies (and then puts in a faster time in the semis) and others with faster times are eliminated -- that's heats-based sport for you. So, especially in the case of the men's 1,000 metre, I've had to go with the slowest nonqualifying time in the heats (which took place on Wednesday), to wit, that of 19-year-old Russian skater Vyacheslav Kurginian. His time of 1:36.070 was not the slowest, but everyone who had a slower time qualified out of their heats and then put in a faster time in the quarterfinals, so I've had to go with Kurginian for an admittedly arbitrary DFL.

In the women's 1,500 metre, it was a good deal more straightforward: Chinese skater Cheng Xiaolei, 24, had the slowest time in the heats: 2:50.017.

Ski Jumping: In the individual large hill (K120) event, Canadian Graeme Gorham, 18, finished 50th with a score of 61.1 and did not advance past the first round. of Gorham from the Sun media chain. [I made an error in these results; see correction.]

Lu Zhuo (China)Speed Skating: In the , Chinese skater Lu Zhuo, 25, finished 38th with a time of 1:12.69 -- less that four seconds off the gold-medal pace. It's marked as a reskate in the results; presumably something happened the first time around that resulted in the skater he was paired against being disqualified and him being allowed a do-over.

Standings to date: The law of averages almost requires that large teams -- like Russia's and Canada's -- will have multiple last-place finishes: your team has more depth, and there are more opportunities for things to go awry. The same goes, to a lesser extent, for medium-sized teams like China's -- and there aren't many countries with more than 80 athletes. Anyway, the upshot of this is that Russia takes the lead -- briefly held since this morning by Chile -- with four last-place finishes despite its large contingent. China is now sixth, and Canada -- with one of the largest delegations here -- is at the back of the single-last-place-finisher pack.

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Qualifying Rules: Freestyle Skiing

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, snowboarding and figure skating.

Freestyle skiing is comprised of moguls and aerials. There is a total quota of 120 athletes for all events. No more than 14 athletes can come from any one country, and no country can send more than eight men or eight women. Countries can enter no more than four athletes in individual events, or one team in team events. But (unlike figure skating), athletes qualify, not countries: they do so "by obtaining at least 1.00 point in FIS World Cup competitions (first 30) or being in the first twenty-five on the FIS World Championship league table, during the qualification period of the event in question."

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Early Results for Saturday, February 18

Erjon Tola (Albania)Alpine Skiing: In the , Albanian skier Erjon Tola, 19, was 56th. His time of 1:44.27 was 13.62 seconds behind the gold medallist. There were seven DNFs. Tola is Albania's only athlete at these Games.

In the , another 15-year-old: Chilean Noelle Barahona finished 30th; her total combined time of 3:26.62 was 35½ seconds behind the gold medallist. A total of 15 skiers either were disqualified, did not start or did not finish before or during one of the event's three runs. of Miss Barahona.

Nina Lemesh (Ukraine)Biathlon: In the
, 14 competitors were disqualified by being lapped, and there were two DNSes and three DNFs. But of the 41 athletes who were able to cross the finish line, Nina Lemesh, 32, of Ukraine finished 41st with a time seven minutes and five seconds behind the gold medallist. Lemesh won at least one World Cup biathlon event back in 1998.

On the men's side, Latvian skier Kristaps Lībietis, 23, was 56th in the 12.5-kilometre pursuit; he was eight minutes, ten seconds behind the gold medallist. There were three DNSes and one DNF.

Cross-country Skiing: In the , the team from Estonia was 17th with a time of 1:00:24.4 -- about 5½ minutes behind the gold medallists. The team was comprised of Tatjana Mannima, 25; Piret Pormeister, 20; Kaili Sirge, 22; and Silja Suija, 31.

Standings to date: With three last-place finishes and a small contingent, Chile moves into the lead. Ukraine adds a third last-place finish to move into fourth, Estonia adds a second last-place finish to move into seventh, and Albania and Latvia joins the race in 11th and 24th place, respectively.

Later today: men's 1,000-metre speed skating, individual large-hill ski jumping, and men's 1,000-metre and women's 1,500-metre short track speed skating.

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