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Original Issue

Upside Downhill

One Olympic website says the last shall be first, for many are cooled but few are frozen

DO YOU believe in debacles? Jonathan Crowe, a 34-year-old professional blogger from Shawville, Que., does, which is why he developed DFL (, a website devoted to those who are slower, lower and weaker than the rest of the field. DFL (it stands for Dead F------ Last) lists last-place finishers in every Olympic event and tracks countries in order of their last-place finishes. (As of Monday, Romania, Russia and South Korea led with four apiece.)

Crowe also provides background information on athletes NBC probably won't be running soft-focus features on. "The point is not to make fun of the athlete," says Crowe, who hatched the idea for DFL with his girlfriend two years ago and launched it during the 2004 Athens Games. He is motivated, he insists, by a sincere fascination with failure: "You may, at worst, laugh at his circumstances."

Indeed, with its earnest bent and lack of cruelty, a site steeped in unsuccessfulness reads instead like a celebration of the Olympic spirit. Just making it to the Games is an impressive feat, Crowe knows, and every loser is lovable. After Chilean biathlete Veronica Isbej brought up the rear in the 7.5-kilometer sprint for her second last-place finish in Turin, Crowe wrote, "Kudos to [those] that are even capable of finishing last more than once." Somewhere, Eddie the Eagle smiled.



LOSSLEADER Noelle Barahona, downhill combined, made DFL.