Last place finishers
August 22, 2004 10:22 PM   Subscribe

When I watched the women's marathon today (which has only existed for 20 years, a shocking story in and of itself), the US coverage noted the final finisher, pulling in at just under four hours, almost an hour and a half after the gold medal. I thought it was odd, and wondered what the last place times and scores were for other events. Lucky for me, I don't have to look too far, as McWetboy's DFL blog tracks the last place in every event at this year's olympics. Because they're there, and you're not.
posted by mathowie (15 comments total)
I like the DFL site not because I want to mock athletes, but to simply note the minimums that you or I could get to the olympics with. I've run a marathon, and it wasn't too far off from today's last place female finisher (now if I could just complete some transgender surgery and get a bit more training in...). In other sports, the distance from last to first is very short.

Sidenote: I thought NBC did a fantastic job telling the entire story of women in track and field. They showed lots of outrageous stuff like the NY Times running editorials after the 1928 games saying that women would lose their ability to have children if they continued to run such great distances (800 meter is two laps on a track, about a half mile). They also showed some great shots of the woman that crashed the Boston marathon being harrassed by race officials, and her boyfriend shoulder-checking the guy so she could keep running. As long as I've been running for fun (since 7th grade cross country, in 1985), women running was an everyday occurrence and I can't imagine there was a time where it was considered odd for them to go for a long jog.
posted by mathowie at 10:32 PM on August 22, 2004

I'd love to hear what those officials had to say after women became a part of the marathon on a regular basis.

"But, but, they're not physically capable!"

"Uh, but thousands of them have successfully finished the race."

"Well, it'll ruin their ability to have children!"

"Uh, thousands have gone on to do just that."

"But, but....oh hell."
posted by GaelFC at 11:01 PM on August 22, 2004

I like the DFL site not because I want to mock athletes, but to simply note the minimums that you or I could get to the olympics with. I've run a marathon, and it wasn't too far off from today's last place female finisher

Just a comment. Thats not necessarily what they got to the Olympics with. They could have done much better in pre-qualification runs or in trials or previous competition. The person who is DFL will be some combination of the least talented and those who are just having a really bad day.

Still, the only thing the site is missing is some commentary on just how good/bad those lastplace marks are. You compared one to your run-times and thats helpful but for many of the others I cant tell the difference between "wow, thats still pretty amazing" and "wow, I could do better than that"
posted by vacapinta at 11:12 PM on August 22, 2004

Cool site. It is interesting to see a site like this that isn't trying to mock the athletes that come in last. I had totally forgotten about this last place finish at Barcelona.
posted by chunking express at 11:20 PM on August 22, 2004

My favorite part of the women's marathon finish was the announcer, who had apparently been improvising for far too long by that time (paraphrasing): This is such a display of sheer.. participation.

Determination? Endurance? No.. Participation.
posted by shinynewnick at 12:05 AM on August 23, 2004

This reminds me of Eric the Eel (as he was nicknamed) at the Sydney Olympics - the competitor from Equatorial Guinea who had only learned to swim 9 months before the event. He seriously looked like he was nearly drowning while doing his laps, and became quite a popular competitor because everyone cheered him on.

Gee I wish he was at this year's games.
posted by chronic sublime at 12:35 AM on August 23, 2004

Jamaican bobsled anyone? This site is a funny spin off of the hype of a guaranteed last place team (even though they placed 28th in 2002).
posted by lightweight at 1:05 AM on August 23, 2004

Man. This really is what the internet was invented for.
posted by mokey at 2:43 AM on August 23, 2004

Alright, this is the limit. Three posts in 24 hours! I am taking it to meta! Gadding around like he *owns* the place. Mumble, mumble, best of the web, more like worst of the olympics, or something.

It would be nice to see these 'loser' times compared with what other mere humans can acheive. Obviously, sports like archery, shooting, sailing, horses, the rings and others require so much specialist equipment or training that they are out of most peoples' grasp. But we can all relate to running! Or walking. Now that I think about it, you all are probably careening around on segways by now, if their predicted success has come to fruition. But you remember walking, don't you?
Yes, horses is a sport.
posted by asok at 4:04 AM on August 23, 2004

shinynewnick: YES that particular announcer was lousy (NBC feed in the US.) Also apparently the feed we saw on tv was 5 seconds ahead of what the announcers saw. So while they were gushing on and on about someone, the feed would show a crash at a water station.

And I could have done without the closeup shots of Mizuki Noguchi throwing up on the track at the finish line. Yeesh.

mathowie: You say your time was just about as good as the last place female finisher, but there were probably lots of women who didn't finish at all who could probably beat the pants off of most anybody, notably the world record holder (that was so painful to see, Paula sitting on the side of the road with her head in her hands.)

My hubby and I were riveted to the TV while they were telling the story of Benoit and her LA olympics win and the history of women's marathon. THAT was a fantastic story.
posted by absquatulate at 6:14 AM on August 23, 2004

Now this is a wakeup call. Thanks, everyone.

chronic sublime: see this post on Eric the Eel and another athlete from Equatorial Guinea competing this year.

vacapinta: I wish I knew how good/bad these last place finishes are, other than how far back from the rest of the pack the last-place finisher is. I suppose if the 14th-place weightlifter draws 160 kg and the 13-place weightlifter draws 240, that might be telling, especially if the spread in other events is only 5-10 kg. I'll try to indicate that a bit more in the remaining posts.

Which I should get to. Now. Since people are now actually reading the damn thing.
posted by mcwetboy at 6:21 AM on August 23, 2004

As a coverage side note, I'm spending this Olympics in Monterrey Mexico and the coverage here is quite different than what I've grown accustomed to at home. No stories, no background, just non stop events, sometimes with 2 taking place at the same time. Although I have no idea what the announcers are saying during the events it really doesn't matter. I don't know what the ratio of actual event to background is on the US coverage here it is about 95 - 5 and the 5 is a couple of guys in T shirts sitting in a studio reviewing results. I had forgotten over the last 20 years how much better this type of coverage was to watch.
posted by mss at 8:00 AM on August 23, 2004

the BBC's coverage on digital satellite is "Interactive" (TV buzzword of the 21st Century), you can select between 5 streams, the main one, with presenters and so on and then 4 other events or a roundup. I prefer it that way than to listening to presenters in a studio.


regarding paula radcliffe and the marathon, i heard that there were quite a few marathon runners (including Paula) who were campaigning for the marathon to start at 06:00 (Athens time) to avoid the heat of the day, rather than at 18:00 when it actually started. allegedly the start time was scheduled for 1800 so it would be at a good time for US television coverage...

so, i blame the US for Paula Radcliffe not winning!
posted by knapah at 2:01 PM on August 23, 2004

As long as I've been running for fun (since 7th grade cross country, in 1985), women running was an everyday occurrence and I can't imagine there was a time where it was considered odd for them to go for a long jog.

Matt, for popular culturists, jogging became an official fad for men and women alike on March 19, 1969.
posted by sixpack at 2:57 PM on August 23, 2004

Cannot. Resist. Urge. To. Self-Link. ARGH! Oh, well, nobody is reading this thread anymore, right?
posted by jmcnally at 9:28 AM on August 25, 2004

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