US Relay Teams Drop Batons

Hand-off gaffes disqualify both men and women
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2008 2:40 PM CDT
United States' Torri Edwards, right, and Lauryn Williams, left, drop the baton in a women's 4x100-meter relay heat Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008.    (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
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(Newser) – US track and field was hit by two nearly identical disasters today, when both the men’s and women’s teams flubbed the last handoff of the preliminary 400-meter relay, the Los Angeles Times reports. A wet, slippery night in the Bird’s Nest proved tough for the relay squads, with the British men’s team also blowing an exchange. 

Still, the embarrassed US teams showed sportsmanship: Darvis Patton and Tyson Gay each tried to take the blame. “I let them down," said Gay, while Patton charged “It's my job to make sure he had it secure.” For the women’s team, Lauryn Williams’ explanations tended towards the supernatural: "I'm telling people the stick had a mind of its own," she said. "Maybe someone has a voodoo doll of me."