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Baton Blunders: Why does the USA always fail to get the stick around?

Team USA member Allyson Felix struggles to get the baton off in Rio after making contact with Team Nigeria.

Any track and field fan will tell you: the US has a problem when it comes to baton passes.

Today was no exception, unfortunately. Watch as Allyson Felix bumps elbows with the Nigerian relay runner heading into the exchange zone:

Look no more recently than last year at the World Relays where Allyson Felix and her US teammate crash out of the race (literally) in the 4 x 200m.

And the same issue happened in 2008:

But let’s not leave the US Men out of this - they’ve been plagued by their own baton mishaps. In Beijing they also were unable to get the baton off and then again in Daegu in 2011:

Or more recently last year, a botched hand-off left them not only down on Bolt but disqualified for not passing off the baton in the exchange zone.

Why don’t the US get the baton around? Many have blamed the botched baton passes on the coach, Dennis Mitchell who led the US 4 x 100m to gold in 1992.

Mitchell later tested positive for testosterone, a banned substance. As a coach, Mitchell hasn’t been so successful, he’s led the relay team in every one of the subsequent races where we’ve been DQ’d.

Let’s just hope that the US men have gotten a few more practice sessions in together with the baton than the US women prior to their heat in the 4 x 100, tomorrow morning.