DFL

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

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Results for Thursday, August 26

Athletics: Men's long jump: Gregor Cankar of Slovenia had the shortest best jump in the qualifyings at 7.32 metres; the winner's final jump was 8.59 metres. One athlete received no mark. Men's 400-metre hurdles: Ibrahim Tondi of Niger had the slowest heat time of 52.62 seconds; the winner's final time was 47.63 seconds. One athlete was disqualified for running outside his lane. Men's 200 metre: Russel Roman of Palau narrowly edged out a Japanese runner for the slowest heat time -- 24.59 seconds. The winner's final time was 19.79 seconds.

Diving: In the women's 3-metre springboard, Diamantina Georgatou -- who we last saw finishing last in a synchronized diving event (results) -- finished 33rd with a score of 157.56. The leader in the prelims -- who eventually finished 3rd -- had a score of 347.04.

Football: In women's football ("soccer"), Greece was ranked last at the end of the tournament.

Hockey -- or "field hockey" as we say in Canada (never say "ice hockey"): Spain was 0-4 in the prelims and lost the 9-10 classification, finishing 10th. Reader George Brink makes the call: "Spain have just come last in the Women's Olympic Hockey competition losing 4-3 to South Africa by a Golden Goal. This must be the cruelest way to come last having scored the first goal then having fought back from a 3-1 deficit to draw 3-3 at full time only to have the 9th position snatched away from them when South Africa scored the first goal in Extra Time."

Modern Pentathlon: In men's upper-class twit of the year modern pentathlon, Marcin Horbacz of Poland finished 32nd with 4,388 points. He was 4:33 behind the winner, who had 5,480 points. Marcin started relatively strongly, placing 7th and 6th in the shooting and fencing portions, respectively (he's a better shot than the eventual medallists, for example), but a DNF in the riding component put him out of the running. (The results seem to indicate a horse substitution?)

Sailing: Some of you have been wondering, "Where's India?" Wonder no more. After 16 races, Indian sailors Malav Shroff and Sumeet Patel finished 19th in the 49er class, with a score of 292 total points, 253 net points. The winners had 91 and 67, respectively. (Lower is obviously better.)

Triathlon: In the men's triathlon, Marc Jenkins of Great Britain finished 45th with a time of 2:05:33.60, nearly 14½ minutes behind the winner and about a minute and a half behind finisher number 44. There were four DNFs.

Water Polo: Kazakhstan lost to Canada 4-10 in the women's 7th/8th classification game to finish 8th in women's water polo; they were 0-3 in the preliminary round. (Remember that there were only eight spots in this tournament.)

Standings to date: After achieving its rightful place on the throne after my goof of the standings, Greece solidifies its lead with a seventh and eighth last-place finish, denying Poland a chance at the top.

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Correction: Women's Heptathlon

More evidence that I can't read a frigging chart. Nancy Johnson writes to point out a mistake I made in the results for the women's heptathlon (reported here). I had reported the last-place finisher as Shen Shengfei of China with 4949 points, and, yet, on the same damn page, there was a listing for Yuki Nakata of Japan with 4871 points. Sorry again, everyone.

(I should apply to be a gymnastics judge.)

Anyway, as a result of this, one point is subtracted from China's total and Japan finally enters the standings. Which means that China falls to fifth fourth place, and should not have been in the lead for some time. (And with all the newspapers reporting China in the lead -- ouch!) Greece is now the undisputed leader in the standings.

I'll update the table when I write up today's results, and that should be within the next few hours.

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Pyambu Tuul in 1992

In 1992 I remember reading a story about the last-place finisher in the Barcelona marathon that completely blew me away. I'm indebted to Robert Pera for finding an online account of the story of Mongolian runner Pyambu Tuul. It's quite possibly the most extraordinary last-place story I've ever heard.
At a press conference Tuul answered quietly and calmly. Through an interpreter he said, "No, my time was not slow, after all you could call my run a Mongolian Olympic marathon record." That was an excellent reply I thought.

He carried on. "And as for it being the greatest day of my life, no it isn't."

The reporters craned forward with their notebooks at the ready. Tuul said, "Up till six months ago I had no sight at all. I was a totally blind person. When I trained it was only with the aid of friends who ran with me. But a group of doctors came to my country last year to do humanitarian medical work. One doctor took a look at my eyes and asked me questions. I told him I had been unable to see since childhood. He said 'But I can fix your sight with a simple operation'. So he did the operation on me and after 20 years I could see again. So today wasn't the greatest day of my life. The best day was when I got my sight back and I saw my wife and two daughters for the first time. And they are beautiful."
Page down past the stuff about the swimmers to read this story in full.

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