I don't know what kind of wool some of you are thinking that some of us are talking about. These aren't big cabled fishermen's sweaters. A thin layer of wool-blend doesn't get particularly heavy, or soggy. A pair of merino running socks, completely soaked, still keep the toes warm when running.
I do think a lot of the elites were held back by their contract restrictions, unfortunately. When you need specialized equipment like yesterday's conditions demanded, those general purpose athletic brands are guaranteed to fall short. I bet there was a much higher use of hand warmers further back in the pack.
Conditions were tough. Times were bound to be slow. But as this thread shows, there's lots of ways to deal with them better than we saw at the front of the race yesterday. I agree with the posters who said that even the winners could have done better. Maybe that's why Kawauchi went out so fast in the first mile -- to warm himself up! Gotta get going pretty quickly to do that on a downhill, in the rain, with the wind in your face.
That said, even though I train in and dress appropriately for conditions like that very regularly, I'd have probably made some of the same mistakes if I'd raced yesterday. In general, what I wear for a training run in certain conditions, I'd lose a layer for racing in the same conditions. So I can't really blame the racers yesterday for making the call they did. We tend towards optimistic -- its hard to imagine or believe that it might actually be *that* bad out.