Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lanterne Rouge at the Olympics

Lanterne Rouge for stages of the Tour de France in two different years, Aleksandr Kuschynski (stage 1, 2007; stage 1, 2008) participated in the men's road race for his nation, Belarus, on August 9th at the Beijing Olympics. He figured in some early breakaways but ultimately did not finish, and is listed in the results in 73rd place.

Presumably that's his Olympic ID photo!??


Fifth place is definitely not good enough in China

Interesting report in the Washington Post about how only first place is good enough for the Chinese at the Beijing Summer Olympic Games.

A Chinese fifth place finisher in the 10m air rifle competition was castigated by her countrymen: ". . . Chinese spectators let her have it. "The state spent so much money on you, provided you with such good facilities, gave you four years to train," one former fan wrote on Tiexue, one of China's biggest online bulletin boards. " . . . You disappoint your countrymen." "

If second place is first loser, then fifth place at the Olympics for the Chinese must be something incredibly horrible.

There are a few (somewhat equivocal) voices of moderation: "The People's Daily said that "losers need more warm support from the society and from all walks of life. A little bit of your encouragement and attention will help them out of the shadow of failure, warm them up, inspire them and make them feel more confident." "

While I'd like to hope those terms "losers" and "failure" for Olympic athletes are the product of a very bad translation, I tend to think they're not.

In general, their attitudes seem to be the antithesis of the Olympic Creed: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Jimmy Casper positive for corticoids

Two-time Tour de France Lanterne Rouge Jimmy Casper has tested positive for corticoids during the 2008 Tour de France. Authorities contend that he did not have a Therapeutic Use Exemption on file, although Casper has claimed that he did.

He was suspended by his team Agritubel pending a resolution of the matter.



I left on vacation the final Saturday of the Tour and was unable to remotely post a final 2008 Tour de France summary; but we heartily congratulate Wim Vansevenant for his accomplishments and move onward!

Cyclist Ahmed Belgasem representing Libya was the final finisher in the men's road race at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, who finished 21:22 after the first rider across the line.

Update: ACK! My error! I wasn't able to properly scroll sideways on the NBC site (which keeps auto-refreshing, much to my annoyance) and that was just a preliminary split. Oh well, I'm happy to recognize Belgasem's participation for Libya anyway. But he was an earlier DNF.

DNFs also included familiar names such as Dave Zabriskie from the USA and Robbie Hunter from South Africa, also Alberto Contador for Spain and Jens Voigt for Germany, and Stuart O'Grady for Australia. I guess it was pretty nasty air out there.

The actual final finisher came in 90th out of 143 starters, 41:11 after the first place finisher, and represents the nation of Brazil: Luciano Pagliarini Mendonca. He was 3rd in the Pan American Games road race last year. This time around he beat 37% of the starters.

I recommend Jonathan Crowe's excellent DFL blog for ongoing coverage of the Olympics - for those who want to read beyond the simplistic sound-byte headlines surrounding the podium-finisher medalists!

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