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Chris Chase

Disaster: U.S. relay teams drop batons

Fourth-Place Medal

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Both the U.S. men's and women's 4x100 relays suffered baton drops during handoffs tonight in Beijing and failed to advance to the finals of the event. It's the first time the American men won't be competing in the Olympic relay final since the Taft administration. For the women, it's their first absence in the finals since 1948.

The drops continue a disastrous Olympic track meet for the Americans. Tyson Gay, who was involved in the men's faulty exchange, will leave Beijing without running in a final. On the women's side, Lauryn Williams now has two Olympic baton drops on her resume. She and Marion Jones had a slip-up in the 2004 Olympics, a blunder that cost the U.S. a gold medal. (Of course, that gold medal probably would have been stripped later because of Ms. Jones' dalliances in body chemistry, so it doesn't matter too much.)

The American team had seven defending world champions coming into the Olympics. Only one (Allyson Felix in the 200) earned a medal in their event, and it was a silver.

Photo via Getty Images

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