DFL

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

Monday, February 20, 2006

Late Results for Monday, February 20

Figure Skating: In the ice dance competition, Ukraine's second team, Julia Golovina, 23, and Oleg Voiko, 25, finished 23rd (one team had to withdraw due to injury) with a score of 128.49. The gold medallists' score was 200.64.

Ski Jumping: The last ski jumping event -- the large hill (K120) team competition -- ran today. Wherein the Chinese team of Li Yang, 25, Yang Guang, 21, Wang Jianxun, 24, and Tian Zhandong, 22, finished 16th in the first round with a score of 206.1 -- about 70 points behind the 15th-place team and nearly 270 points behind the gold medallists -- and did not advance to the final round. (Only the top eight teams did so.)

Standings to date: Both China and Ukraine edge closer to the top with their fourth last-place finishes each.

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Early Results for Monday, February 20

Ivan Borisov (Kyrgyzstan)Alpine Skiing: As many competitors -- 41 -- failed to finish (DNF, DNS or DQ) in the as actually finished the race. But, in the end, Kyrgyz skier Ivan Borisov, 26, finished 41st. His time after two runs was 3:37.10 -- more than a minute behind the gold medallist and a full half-minute behind the next-to-last finisher, and can be attributed to a very poor first run (his second run was much more in line with the rest of the field, while still last. Borisov is Kyrgyzstan's lone athlete at these Games.

Christelle Laura Douibi (Algeria)In the , rescheduled from yesterday, Algerian skier Christelle Laura Douibi added a second last-place finish with her 51st-place time of 1:43.54 -- 11.07 seconds behind the gold medallist. There were two DNSes, two DNFs and one disqualification. We last saw Douibi finishing last in the women's downhill.

Hockey: While the medals have yet to be decided in women's hockey, I'm able to assign a last-place finish based on the outcome of the placement round game for 7th/8th place. That game is now over, and, with Switzerland beating Italy 11-0, that means host country Italy places last overall in this event.

Standings to date: Because of the automatic qualification rules for host countries, I expect them to do well in the last-place sweepstakes -- apart from entering into sports that they may not otherwise have qualified for, they've just got that many more opportunities. It says something, then, that it's taken until now for Italy to enter the standings. And, of course, because host countries send huge teams, they're at the bottom of the list with their single last-place finish.

On the other hand, because of the way I rank things, small delegations -- like those of Algeria (2) and Kyrgyzstan (1) -- tend to rank quite highly (at 7th in a three-way tie for 14th, respectively) as soon as one or two last-place finishes occur. It's magnified when the same athlete places last more than once -- which can happen at the Winter Games, where good (if not great) athletes have the opportunity to compete in multiple events in the alpine, cross-country and speed skating disciplines.

Not that the standings have any real value, but I know some of you like to chew over them.

Later today: ice dance (what? we should have known who came 24th before the Opening Ceremonies!) and team ski jumping.

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Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: Austrian Edition

The story about the Austrian biathlon/cross-country ski team -- some of whom finished last in the 4×10-km relay yesterday, you'll remember -- and their banned coach keeps getting weirder: Italian police report that they did in fact find doping equipment, two of the 10 athletes tested have been punted from the team for going home without permission, and the banned coach is in custody after crashing a roadblock near the Italy-Austria border. (In other news, the paperwork involving a positive pre-Games test of a biathlete -- not necessarily Austrian -- has mysteriously gone missing.)

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