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USA Track & Field to conduct comprehensive review of all programs

8/22/2008 - Olympic Sports

BEIJING -- The United States will conduct
a post-mortem into a disappointing Olympic athletics
performance that has seen U.S. sprinters eclipsed by their
Jamaican rivals, the chief executive officer of USA Track &
Field said.

"Once the Games are complete we will be conducting a
comprehensive review of all our programs," Doug Logan said in
a statement.

A miserable Games for a team that billed itself the world's
best was highlighted by relay botches by both the men's and
women's 4x100-meter teams on Thursday night.

"I, like all fans of Team USA, am extremely disappointed
with the performance of our relays," Logan said, after the U.S.
men's and women's 4x100 teams dropped batons in Thursday's
opening relay rounds.

Logan said the review would be comprehensive, looking at
all USA Track & Field's high performance programs.

One subject to be addressed, he said, would be "the way in
which we select, train and coach our relays".

In remarks posted on his blog, titled "Shin Splints", Logan
added the poor relay performance reflected a lack of
preparation.

"These are professional athletes who are the best in their
field, and anybody who ever ran a high school relay cringes
when that baton hits the track," he said.

It is the first time since 1976 that the United States have
competed and failed to win a sprint title at a Games. The
Americans led the medals table at the 2004 Olympics and 2005
and 2007 world championships.


Jamaican athletes swept all four individual sprints, with
Usain Bolt setting world records in the men's 100 and 200
meters.

"They [Jamaica] brought their A-game. I don't know where we
left ours," said Lauryn Williams, who was involved in the
women's botched relay exchange and missed out on a 100-meter
medal after taking silver in 2004.

U.S. world champions were hard hit by the doom and gloom.

Men's 100- and 200-meter world champion Tyson Gay, still
recovering from a hamstring injury at the U.S. Olympic trials,
went out of the 100 meters in the semifinals.

Then a botched relay, in which teammate Darvis Patton and
Gay failed to connect, added further frustration.

World women's 200-meter winner Allyson Felix and 400-meter favorite Sanya Richards also missed gold.

World 1,500-meter winner Bernard Lagat, a two-time
Olympic medalist for Kenya, missed the final this time, his
first in a U.S. vest. He will seek redemption in Saturday's
5,000 meters, where he is also the world champion.

The setbacks have implications beyond athletics, wiping out
any chance the United States might have had of catching China
for the Games's overall gold medals lead.

"We have to go back to developing our sprinters,"
high-profile sprint coach Bob Kersee, who led Dawn Harper to
the women's 100-meter hurdles crown and Felix to a 200-meter silver, told
Reuters.

"Whether it's the college system or just training and being
prepared, we have to concentrate on taking it up to this level.
We can be spoiled at times in the United States."