DFL

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

Monday, August 11, 2008

If You're Not a Winner, You're . . .

From an article in today's Globe and Mail about athletes adjusting to life after the Olympics:
Dave Steen had barely hoisted a hose in a new career as a firefighter when his past life hit him like a wall of flames.

"Hey, aren't you the guy who lost at the Olympics?" a colleague remarked on his first day on the job at an Ottawa fire hall.

From that day forward, the former decathlete -- who clinched a bronze medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics -- was endearingly dubbed "loser" by his co-workers.
Now I know some hazing in a job like this is inevitable, but my response would have been a little less magnanimous than Steen's: Let's see you win a bronze in the decathlon, fatass.

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Standings Page

Because it would be complicated otherwise, the complete last-place standings now have their own separate page. The "top" ten countries for the last three Olympics -- i.e., the ones I've been covering -- are still on the sidebar. To refresh your memory if you've been here before, or to explain this if you haven't: ties are broken by the size of athletes' delegations, my source for which is .

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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 , 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 , 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 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 , 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 , 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 , 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 : 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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