Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lanterne Rouge

The most iconic event of the Olympics- and the last ever since Los Angeles 1984, at least for the men- is the marathon. And since we're nearing the close of the Games, we should give it a mention. The stories of runners towards the front of the pack are legion. Those who win may not become celebrities like those in more ratings-grabbing events. You won't see the fawning of media here like you will towards the likes of Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, or Nastia Liukin. They don't need to become celebrities. Through victory, or near-victory, the names Spiridon Louis, Abebe Bikila, and Emil Zatopek, among others, instead become legends. Coming close to finishing and faltering near the end can also make a legend of you, such is the case of Dorando Pietri and Paula Radcliffe.

But the marathon is a long way to run. Even finishing last means you finished. You completed the Olympic marathon. And as the Olympics are fond of saying, it is not about winning or losing, but about having participated; about showing up, playing fair, and doing your damnedest. And a small little footnote in every marathon- and that's always what it seems to be, a footnote- is who came in last in the men's edition, sometimes hours behind the medalists and sometimes not even permitted to finish in the stadium like everyone else, because the preparation for the Closing Ceremony has already begun.

Today, we focus purely on last place. What follows is a listing of every last-place finisher in the marathon, and their time (if available):

Athens 1896- Sokratis Lagoudakis, Greece (9th place, 6 DNF's, 1 DQ)
Paris 1900- either Dick Grant, Canada, or Ronald MacDonald, Canada (6th/7th; the records are unclear as to who finished ahead of whom, but it's most likely MacDonald, 6 DNF's)
St. Louis 1904- Andrew Oikonomou, Greece (14th place, 17 DNF's, 1 DQ)
Athens 1906- Arnost Nejedly, Bohemia, 3:40:00.2 (15th place, 38 DNF's)
London 1908- George Lister, Canada, 4:42:45 (27th place, 27 DNF's, 1 DQ)
Stockholm 1912- Otto Osen, Norway, 3:36:35.2 (34th place, 34 DNF's)
Antwerp 1920- Eric Robertson, Great Britain, 3:55:00 (35th place, 13 DNF's)
Paris 1924- Elmar Reimann, Estonia, 3:40:52 (30th place, 28 DNF's)
Amsterdam 1928- William van der Steen, Netherlands, 3:19:53 (57th place, 12 DNF's)
Los Angeles 1932- Margarito Pomposo, Mexico, 3:10:51 (20th place, 8 DNF's)
Berlin 1936- Jose Farias, Peru, 3:33:24 (42nd place, 14 DNF's)
London 1948- Stan Jones, Great Britain, 3:09:16 (30th place, 11 DNF's)
Helsinki 1952- Artidoro Berti, Italy, 2:58:36.2 (53rd place, 13 DNF's)
Melbourne 1956- Kurao Hiroshima, Japan, 3:04:17 (33rd place, 13 DNF's)
Rome 1960- Alifu Massaquoi, Liberia, 3:43:18 (62nd place, 7 DNF's)
Tokyo 1964- Chanom Siriangsri, Thailand, 2:59:25.6 (58th place, 10 DNF's)
Mexico City 1968- John Stephen Akhwari, Tanzania, 3:25:17 (57th place, 18 DNF's)
Munich 1972- Maurice Charlotin, Haiti, 3:29:21 (62nd place, 12 DNF's)
Montreal 1976- Lucio Guachalla, Bolivia, 2:45:31.8 (60th place, 7 DNF's)
Moscow 1980- Abel Nkhoma, Zimbabwe, 2:53:35 (53rd place, 21 DNF's)
Los Angeles 1984- Dieudonne Lamothe, Haiti, 2:52:18 (78th place, 29 DNF's)
Seoul 1988- Polin Belisle, Belize, 3:14:02 (98th place, 20 DNF's)
Barcelona 1992- Pyambuugiin Tuul, Mongolia, 4:00:44 (87th place, 23 DNF's)
Atlanta 1996- Abdul Baser Wasiqi, Afghanistan, 4:24:17 (111th place, 13 DNF's)
Sydney 2000- Elias Rodriguez, Micronesia, 3:09:14 (81st place, 19 DNF's)
Athens 2004- Marcel Matanin, Slovakia, 2:50:26 (81st place, 20 DNF's)
Beijing 2008- Atsushi Sato, Japan, 2:41:08 (76th place, 19 DNF's)
London 2012- TBD

Los Angeles 1984- Eleonora de Mendonca, Brazil, 2:52:19 (44th place, 6 DNF's)
Seoul 1988- Mariana Ysrael, Guam, 3:42:23 (64th place, 5 DNF's)
Barcelona 1992- Christine Bakombo, DR Congo, 3:29:10 (37th place, 9 DNF's, 1 DQ)
Atlanta 1996- Marie Benito, Guam, 3:27:28* (65th place, 21 DNF's)
Sydney 2000- Sirivanh Ketavong, Laos, 3:34:27 (45th place, 8 DNF's)
Athens 2004- Luvsanlkhundeviin Otgonbayar, Mongolia, 3:48:42 (66th place, 16 DNF's)
Beijing 2008- Oksana Skliarenko, Ukraine, 2:55:39 (69th place, 12 DNF's)
London 2012- Caitriona Jennings, Ireland, 3:22:11 (107th place, 11 DNF's)

*Atlanta had two runners classified as 'unofficial competitors', whose times were not placed in with everyone else. However, one of those times, that of Virginie Gloum of the Central African Republic, was an estimated 3:33:00, behind that of Benito.

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