DFL

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Late Results for Wednesday, February 22

Alpine Skiing: In the , Indian skier Neha Ahuja, 24, finished 51st. Her time after two runs was 1:56.16 -- 27 seconds behind the gold medallist. A total of 13 people were disqualified, did not finish or did not start. celebrating her status as the first woman from India to qualify for the Winter Olympics.

Freestyle Skiing: In
, 25-year-old Australian skier Elizabeth Gardner finished 23rd in the qualification round with a score of 127.42. For comparison, the gold medallist's score in the final round was 202.55.

Short Track: Only eight teams in the , and they all made the finals, so, for once, the last-place finisher is elementary: it's whoever came fourth in the B final. In this case, that's Japan, who I guess finished 7th because China was disqualified in the A final. The team members are Yuka Kamino, 25, Mika Ozawa, 20, Chikage Tanaka, 32, and Nobuko Yamada, 34.

Speed Skating: Over on the long track, Romania's Daniela Oltean, who came last in the women's 1,000-metre on Sunday, finished 35th again in the today. Her time of 2:09.24 was nearly 14 seconds behind that of the gold medallist. It probably didn't help that she had to skate alone in her race rather than be paired against another skater.

Standings to date: Romania regains the lead, Japan moves into fifth place, and India and Australia enter the standings in 20th and 29th place, respectively.

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The Jamaican Bobsled Team

Any discussion of last-place finishers at the Olympics, particularly at the Winter Olympics, would not be complete without at least mentioning Jamaica's bobsled team, which drew worldwide attention at the Calgary Games in 1988. Along with Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards (who will be the subject of a later post), they were among the high-profile "novelty acts" from those Games that no doubt spurred a tightening of the qualifying rules -- and, by the way, who make a discussion of last-place finishes so problematic: it's hard to say you're celebrating the hard work of last-place finishers to someone who's got Cool Runnings running through their head.

But that's not to knock the team. They did considerably better in subsequent Olympics and other world competitions, beating other countries' more-established teams. It's claimed that Jamaica's strength in the sprinting events in the summer events translates well to bobsledding, where a quick start means a lot. Read more about them at the and this article on Eurosport.com; there's also this interview with Devon "Pele" Harris, a member of the first bobsled team.

Jamaica isn't at the Torino Games; their bobsled team failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since they started.

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Austrian Doping Scandal Update

The Austrians have fessed up, admitting that the two skiers who bravely turned their tails and fled after the surprise Italian police raid over the weekend "may" have used illegal doping methods. Neither of the athletes in question were on the teams that finished last in the cross-country or biathlon relays, so the DFL standings are unaffected. But that may change: the tests aren't finished yet.

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Early Results for Wednesday, February 22

Panagiota Tsakiri (Greece)Cross-country Skiing: The men's and women's sprint events ran today; I'm assigning the DFL to the slowest time in the qualification round. The first 30 skiers qualified for the quarterfinals in each event. In the , Greek skier Panagiota Tsakiri, all of 15 years old, finished 66th with a time of 2:43.28, more than 30 seconds off the pace. The women's sprint is 1.1 km. In the , 22-year-old Edmond Khachatryan of Armenia was 80th with a time of 2:49.98, about 36½ seconds off the pace. The men's sprint is 1.3 km.

Alexander Maier (Austria)Snowboarding: In the men's parallel giant slalom, I'm going with the last-place result in the elimination round, which is less ambiguous than the qualification round. In that elimination round, Austrian boarder Alexander Maier, 31, was ranked 30th; he was disqualified on one run so a comparison of his time is meaningless. One boarder was disqualified during the qualification round.

Standings to date: Armenia enters the standings in 20th place, Greece moves from 19th to 10th, and Austria moves from 13th to 7th.

Later today: A whole swack of women's events: 1,500-metre speed skating, slalom, aerials, and, in short track, the 3,000-metre relay.

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