Lagat's 1,500 quest halted
BEIJING -- Bernard Lagat was a two-time Olympic medalist for Kenya. As an American, he couldn't even make the 1,500 final in Beijing.
Lagat struggled to a sixth-place finish in his semifinal heat yesterday, leading an American flameout in the event.
The United States hasn't won an Olympic medal in the men's 1,500 meters since Jim Ryun took the silver in Mexico City in 1968. It was supposed to be different this time.
"It's a big loss for us,'' fellow American 1,500 runner Leo Manzano said. "We really thought we had a good chance to have at least one guy in that final.''
Manzano and Lopez Lomong, a "Lost Boy of Sudan'' who spent 10 years in a Kenyan refugee camp, finished last in their heats.
In qualifying heats today, Olympic 100-meter champion Usain Bolt advanced to the second round of the 200 meters. The Jamaican finished second to Rondell Sorillo of Trinidad and Tobago.
Reigning Olympic and world champion Jeremy Wariner and rival LaShawn Merritt have qualified for the semifinals at 400 meters. Both Americans built big leads and were able to jog home to win their respective heats. Wariner won the last of seven heats in 45.23 seconds, while Merritt led the fifth heat in 44.96.
In finals, Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele (men's 10,000 meters) and Cameroon's Francoise Mbango Etone (women's triple jump) successfully defended their titles from the 2004 Olympics.
Sileshi Sihine gave Ethiopia a 1-2 finish, but two-time champion Haile Gebrselassie finished sixth. American Abdi Abdirahman was 15th.