Horror day for US relay teams in Beijing

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{image-US relay team_22082008.jpg news.oneindia.in}Beijing, Aug 22: It was a horror day for US relay teams at Beijing on Friday. The U.S. men's and women's relay squads both fumbled their last passes in qualifying heats to miss out on the climactic finals . The botched exchanges were symbolic of what has happened to the U.S. runners at the Beijing Olympics.

They're not passing on the glory and tradition in races U.S. sprinters used to consider a lock. They're not passing much of anything, or anyone.' The US were cruising towards the final and a shot at a 16th gold medal in the event when Patton bore down on Tyson Gay for the last changeover, but a mix-up ended with the baton tumbling to the rain-soaked track. "I don't know what happened," triple world champion Gay told reporters.

"The stick was in my hand. I think I felt it hit my hand, but I don't think it was in all the way before I grabbed. It's probably my fault, I take the blame for it."

Gay had also been bidding to make up for his failure to reach the 100m final

Meanwhile, little Jamaica has followed double world record setter Usain Bolt to the top of the sprint world. The island country has invested in sport centres to lure its athletes home from U.S. schools and hothoused them in Jamaica with great results.

The United States, meanwhile, keeps falling short of expectations. For the first time in Summer Games history, the U.S. will leave an Olympics 0-for-6 in the sprint races: the men's and women's 100s, 200s and 400 relays.The Jamaicans have four gold, including Bolt's two world-record races, plus a silver and two bronzes, and likely will add another gold to the haul in the men's relay final.

An all-around dismal display, prompting new USA Track&Field CEO Doug Logan to promise "a comprehensive review" of the way the federation does things — including, he pointed out, "the way we select, train and coach our relays."

Relay preliminaries are supposed to be perfunctory for the United States: gimmes, like the layup line before an NBA game, batting practice at a major league ballpark. Setting aside the boycotted 1980 Moscow Olympics, you have to go back to 1948 for the last time the U.S. women failed to reach the 400 relay final; 1912 and 1988 were the only previous times it happened to the men.

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