BEIJING -- American women were the face of heartbreak at National Stadium on Tuesday night.At least Richards got a bronze, there's an achievement. Jones can take pride in how far she got and hope for a better turnout four years from now.
Twice in the span of 20 minutes, they were flying down the straightaway with a gold medal within reach. Two strong favorites were close enough to feel it. Years of unstinting effort were about to pay off.
Lolo Jones failed to clear her next-to-last hurdle in the 100-meter hurdle final, falling from first to seventh in the race.
Twice they crossed the finish line beaten, shocked and devastated.
Two athletic moments of a lifetime ended in bitter tears.
First, Sanya Richards in the 400-meter dash. She was well clear of the field with a mere 80 meters to run when she suddenly lost her momentum, shortening up and finishing third. She was shaking her head in obvious dismay at the finish and complained afterward of a tweaked hamstring.
Richards was the saddest bronze medalist in Beijing, describing herself as "more than snakebit."
"I don't even want to tell you what I'm thinking right now because it's not positive," she said. "I feel so betrayed right now by my body. It's so discouraging."