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Ron Judd, an Olympics junkie and Seattle Times columnist who has covered Olympic sports since 1997, will use this space to serve up news and opinion on the Summer and Winter Games -- also inviting you to chime in on Planet Earth's biggest get-together.

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August 17, 2008 8:56 AM

Disastrous U.S. track team start: Lagat fails to qualify

Posted by Ron Judd

Lagat.JPGBernard Lagat of the United States reacts after failing to advance in the men's 1500-meter semifinal at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing Sunday. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

So much for safe bets.

Former WSU star and recent American immigrant Bernard Lagat has failed to qualify for the final of the 1,500 meters. He finished sixth in his semifinal heat.

Lagat, interviewed by Elliott Almond of the San Jose Mercury-News, said he was feeling well and the heat of Beijing was not a problem. He was at a loss to explain his performance.

"I don't know what happened," he said. "I gave it my all at the end and it is unusual for me to run fast and not make it to the final."

Lagat realized he was one spot out of qualifying as he came down the home stretch, he said.

"I thought, man, I’ve got to dig in," he said. "I thought maybe I'd made it. But you know what, life goes on. To my mom, my friends in America: I didn't let them down. I did my best. If I let them down that means I didn't give my best. I tried 100 percent."

Lagat, a bronze and silver medalist in the event and reigning world champion, missed the final by two hundredths of a second.

Teammate Lopez Lomong, the U.S. flagbearer in the opening ceremony, also failed to qualify.

It's been a disastrous start, capital D, for the U.S. track team. Tyson Gay failed to qualify for the final of the 100 meters, won by Usain Bolt. And Jamaicans swept the top three spots of the women's 100 meters, with Lauryn Williams and Muna Lee finishing fourth and fifth. They later protested the race, saying they'd been holding back because of what they perceived to be a false start. The protest was denied.

Things have gone no better in field events, where America's vaunted shot put contingent, expected to sweep, took only a silver the medal round.

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Posted by Steve

11:11 AM, Aug 17, 2008

Actually, we got a silver in the shot put . . . give us a day or two and we'll be there again . . . or wait until the Jamican sprint team gets their drug tests back

RJ Comment: You're correct, I forgot. Tnx for the note; I corrected it above.

Posted by Yardie

11:52 AM, Aug 17, 2008

Haul an pull up you bombo-claat. As soon as you Americans lose something you want to blame drugs....hello! ask Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery, Torrie Edwards about drugs...they'll be able to tell you. The whole world celebrates with you on the success of Michael Phelps...why can't you celebrate with us Jamaicans on the success of our sprinters? In Jamaica, sprinting is LIFE...we did not get this success "all of a sudden" we have always been right here. You do Americans an injustice by being an ass.

Posted by jt

3:36 PM, Aug 17, 2008

Yardie the drug that Torrie Edwards took is now approved. The drug was in a medication she purchased over the counter in the Carribean while at an early season track meet. Not really fair to put her in with the others.

Posted by josh

4:32 PM, Aug 17, 2008

wow. USA's worst track preformane since the 1972 olympics.
I cant beleive Lagat failed to qualify! I figured Lomong, nor Manzano wouldnt make it due to the lack of in expirence.
Lagat was our only hope for that 1500m gold and just wasnt sharp for that final sprint.

Posted by B. Claat

12:08 AM, Aug 18, 2008

Haul an pull up you bombo-claat?

Translation please.

Posted by Yardie

1:58 PM, Aug 18, 2008

Sorry...the equivalent to "get the f--k outta here" or "go f--k yourself" commonly used in the blue-collar vernacular of the American North East

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