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Olympic Games 2008: U.S. sprint relays fail to advance

21 August 2008
www.universalsports.com

Tyson Gay (L) of the U.S. and team-mate Darvis Patton walk on the track after their men's 4 x 100m relay heat of the athletics competition in the National Stadium at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 21, 2008. Tyson Gay (L) of the U.S. and team-mate Darvis Patton walk on the track after their men's 4 x 100m relay heat of the athletics competition in the National Stadium at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 21, 2008.
By Dave Ungrady

The United States failed to advance out of the first round of the men's and women's 400-meter relays at the Olympics Thursday, dropping the batons approaching the anchor legs in both races.

In the men's race, anchor Tyson Gay, part of the American team that won the relay at last year's world championships, did not get the baton from third-leg runner Darvis Patton on Thursday night. When Gay reached his hand back for the exchange, he never got a grasp of the baton.

Gay accepted blame for the mishap. "The stick was in my hand," he said. "I felt it hit my hand. We had some good handoffs in practice, so everything was going well. It was probably my fault. Some people say that when it hits the hand, you should have it. I'm a veteran. I've ran the relays, I've never dropped a baton in my life."

"My job is to never let go until he securely has the baton," Patton said. "I thought he had it but he didn't. It's unfortunate it happened in the Olympic Games. We were confident."

The race brought to an end a disappointing Olympics for Gay, who failed to qualify at U.S. Trials for the 200m, entered the Games injured and was eliminated in his 100m semifinal.

Trinidad and Tobago won the heat. Only four of the eight teams managed to make it all the way around the one-lap race without a problem in a light rain.

Jamaica won the second heat, with former 100 world record-holder Asafa Powell running the anchor leg. Usain Bolt, who broke the world records in the 100 and 200 while winning those gold medals, was given the night off, but is expected to run in Friday's relay final.

In the women's race, anchor Lauryn Williams flubbed her exchange with Torri Edwards and the metal stick dropped to the ground.

"Somebody somewhere's got a voodoo doll of the U.S.," said Williams. "I have no idea what could've gone wrong. Our plan was to come out here, play it safe, have safe passes and lay it all on the track tomorrow."

Williams was unsure what went wrong. "We saw a few of the replays and it looked like it was a good handoff. The stick had a mind of its own. It wasn't my fault and it wasn't Torri's fault. It's just unfortunate."

"I thought the baton was secure and I let go, but I guess it wasn't," said Edwards. "This was our revenge. We were going to go to the finals and win. It's very heartbreaking.

The favorite, Jamaica, won the second heat in a season's best 42.24.

For the second consecutive Olympics, the U.S. will not win gold in either the men's or women's 4x100m relay. The Americans won at least one of the relays through the 2000 Sydney Games.



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"My job is to never let go until he securely has the baton," Patton said. "I thought he had it but he didn't. It's unfortunate it happened in the Olympic Games. We were confident."
In the women's race, anchor Lauryn Williams flubbed her exchange with Torri Edwards and the metal stick dropped to the ground.
"Somebody somewhere's got a voodoo doll of the U.S.," said Williams. "I have no idea what could've gone wrong. Our plan was to come out here, play it safe, have safe passes and lay it all on the track tomorrow."
Williams was unsure what went wrong. "We saw a few of the replays and it looked like it was a good handoff. The stick had a mind of its own. It wasn't my fault and it wasn't Torri's fault. It's just unfortunate."
"I thought the baton was secure and I let go, but I guess it wasn't," said Edwards. "This was our revenge. We were going to go to the finals and win. It's very heartbreaking."" target="digg"> Digg



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