BEIJING -- Tyson Gay reached back to grab the baton "and there was nothing."
He's not the only American track favorite who will leave Beijing empty-handed.
Tyson Gay, left, and Darvis Patton both took responsibility for the botched handoff that kept the U.S. from qualifying for the 400-meter relay final.
The American men's and women's 400-meter relay teams both misconnected on the final handoffs in their preliminaries Thursday, a pair of stunning setbacks that made it that much easier for the Jamaicans to say the Bird's Nest is really their house.
"I take full blame for it," Gay said of his bad exchange with Darvis Patton. "I kind of feel I let them down."
The men's relay team failed to reach the Olympic final for the first time since 1912. The women missed for the first time since 1948.
In the men's race, things were going smoothly for the United States through the first two legs. But when Patton closed in on Gay and Gay reached backward, they couldn't connect. Patton made a final lunge to get the stick to Gay before he ran out of the passing zone, but as Gay's hand closed, the stick wasn't in it. It bounced off the rain-slickened track, and the crowd gasped.
Gay said he felt the baton but "then I went to grab it and there was nothing. It's kind of the way it's been happening to me this Olympics."
Patton said he was every bit as much to blame.
"That's Tyson Gay," he said. "He's a humble guy, but I know it's my job to get the guy the baton and I didn't do that."
The new chief executive officer of USA Track & Field, Doug Logan, promised "a comprehensive review" of all of the team's programs.
"Included in this assessment," he said, "will be the way we select, train and coach our relays."