DFL

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Results for Wednesday, August 20

A comparatively quiet day, medals-wise.

Athletics: In the women's hammer throw qualifying round on Monday, 17-year-old Galina Mityaeva of Tajikistan met her Dr. Horrible in group A, with a best throw of 51.38 metres. Only one other competitor was under 60 metres; the gold medallist's best result in the final was 76.34. Three athletes had no mark. In round one of the men's 200 metre, the slowest time came in heat five: Juan Zeledon of Nicaragua, 22, had a time of 23.39 seconds; the gold medallist's freaky-fast record time in the final was 19.3 seconds. There were three DNSes and one DNF in the heats. The first round of the women's 400-metre hurdles was held on Sunday. Galina Pedan had the only time in excess of a minute; the 25-year-old Krygyz athlete's time was 1:00.31, compared to the 52.64 second-time put in by the gold medallist in the final.

Sailing: In the , Colombian sailor Santiago Grillo, 21, was 35th. In the , 34-year-old Sedef Koktenturk of Turkey was 27th.

Swimming: In the , 16-year-old Antonella Bogarin of Argentina finished 24th. Her time of 2:11:35.9 was 12:08.2 behind the gold medallist; she and one other swimmer were considerably behind the main pack. There was also one DNF, who I really hope was fished out.

Synchronized swimming: In the duet event, the Egyptian team of Dalia El Gebaly, 26, and Reem Abdalazem, 25, was 24th in both the preliminary and technical rounds, and did not advance to the final.

Standings to date: Colombia, Turkey, Egypt and Argentina add their third DFLs, Nicaragua and Tajikistan their second.

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Berzerkistan's DFL

Doonesbury is somewhat on-topic.

'A Tedious Exercise in Petty Nationalism'

George Orwell, "The Sporting Spirit" (1945):
I am always amazed when I hear people saying that sport creates goodwill between the nations, and that if only the common peoples of the world could meet one another at football or cricket, they would have no inclination to meet on the battlefield. Even if one didn't know from concrete examples (the 1936 Olympic Games, for instance) that international sporting contests lead to orgies of hatred, one could deduce it from general principles.

Nearly all the sports practised nowadays are competitive. You play to win, and the game has little meaning unless you do your utmost to win. On the village green, where you pick up sides and no feeling of local patriotism is involved. it is possible to play simply for the fun and exercise: but as soon as the question of prestige arises, as soon as you feel that you and some larger unit will be disgraced if you lose, the most savage combative instincts are aroused. Anyone who has played even in a school football match knows this. At the international level sport is frankly mimic warfare. But the significant thing is not the behaviour of the players but the attitude of the spectators: and, behind the spectators, of the nations who work themselves into furies over these absurd contests, and seriously believe -- at any rate for short periods -- that running, jumping and kicking a ball are tests of national virtue.
The National Post's Jonathan Kay, on Orwell's essay and the Olympics:
This helps explain why the Olympics continue to be such a farce. Look behind the flim-flam about building global harmony through wholesome sports competition and you will find a giant exercise in petty nationalism.

In the democratic West, this means a childish (if harmless) obsession with tracking one’s nation in the "medal count." ... Winning Olympic gold has always been such an obsession among dictatorships -- from Nazi Germany, to the USSR, to the freakish gender-benders set loose upon the world by Warsaw Pact gymnast programs. As a species of "mimic warfare" (Orwell's term), the Olympic Games allow dictators and ethnic supremacists to stir up nationalistic bloodlust without actually going through the bother of military combat.

Even in the West, there is always a great wringing of hands if our Olympiads fail to deliver the expected haul of medals -- with newspaper editors and columnists (including purported conservatives) invariably proposing Soviet-style sports programs to rectify matters four years hence, as if it somehow were a matter of national importance that our Pommel Horse Men were screwing up their dismounts.
 
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