The US men's 4x100m relay team was eliminated in the qualifying heats when the baton was dropped as Darvis Patton passed it to Tyson Gay. The same mistake disqualified the women's relay team from the 4x100m semi-finals.
The United States' miserable Olympic track and field campaign continued here on Thursday when their men's 4x100metres relay team went out in the first round.
The Americans blundered in the final exchange when the baton was dropped as it moved from Darvis Patton to Tyson Gay.
For Gay it rounded off a desperate Olympics as the 100m world champion exited in the 100m semi-finals, having returned from a hamstring injury.
"I don't know what happened," said Gay.
"He (Patton) said the stick was in my hand. I think I felt it, but it wasn't in all the way before I grabbed it.
"I take the blame for it. It was my fault," added the 26-year-old.
Patton, eighth in the 100m final, said he thought the handover was going smoothly.
"I thought he (Gay) had it, but he didn't," said the 30-year-old, who along with Gay was a member of the world championship winning team last year.
"My job was never to let go until he securely has it, but he didn't.
"It's unfortunate that it happened at an Olympic Games once again. We are all very disappointed."
Reigning champions Great Britain finished second behind winners Jamaica but were then disqualifed because fourth leg runner Craig Pickering was outside the safety zone when he received the baton from Marlon Devonish.
"I am not entirely sure what happened," said 32-year-old Devonish, the sole surviving member of the victorious 2004 team.
"Either I didn't go quickly enough or Craig Pickering went too soon. We are truly gutted."
Great Britain's disqualification gave the home fans some cheer as it saw China elevated to Friday's final.
Jamaica's 100 and 200m Olympic champion Usain Bolt did not race in the heat but must surely fancy his chances of adding a third gold to his collection at the Games - just one less than Carl Lewis managed at the 1984 Games.
The Americans have dominated this event at past Olympics, winning 17 of the 21 times it has been raced - Great Britain has won it twice, Canada once and Nigeria also once.
Later, America's problems deepened when the women's 4x100m relay team also dropped the baton on the final exchange.
Date created : 2008-08-21