Edino Steele shut out of medal chance

JamaicaJoshua Mance

Hopes and dreams of winning a precious Olympic medal was instead replaced with a steady helping of irony Thursday afternoon for former Pasadena City College standout Edino Steele and the Jamaican national team’s 4x400-meter relay squad at the London Olympics.

Edino, one of six runners in Jamaica’s pool, was skipped over for inclusion in the four-man 1,600-relay squad, a disappointment superseded by his teammates minutes later when they failed to finish in the second heat of their preliminary relay race and did not qualify to Friday’s final.

Jamaica ran a preliminary time of 2 minutes, 59.13 seconds at last year’s International Assn. of Athletics Federation before taking third in 3:00.10 in the finals and were considered by some as a dark horse with the potential to end the reign of Team USA, which has won 16 of the last 22 gold medals in the event and hadn’t lost since 1952 when the Americans fell to Jamaica.

Initially, the Jamaican team appeared in good position to advance after lead leg Dane Hyatt raced out to a quick advantage, ahead of eventual qualifiers Team USA and the Bahamas, and handed off to teammate Riker Hylton.

It was in the second leg that Jamaica lost some steam, as Bahamian runner Demetrius Pinder built a huge lead ahead of American Joshua Mance, while the Jamaicans fell as far back as sixth before Hylton rallied into third place on the next handoff.

Hylton gave way to Jermaine Gonzales, Jamaica’s biggest question mark heading into the preliminaries, and Gonzales lasted only about 100 meters before pulling out with an apparent leg injury, which eliminated his squad and also prevented Errol Nolan from running the anchor leg.

While Gonzales is the Jamaican national record holder in the 400 meters with a time of 44.40, he admitted that he did not favor running the relay because of a recurring right hamstring injury after finishing sixth in his heat of the 400 prelims and 33rd overall in 46.21 on Aug. 4.

Only a month earlier, a much healthier Gonzales finished third in the Jamaican National Senior Trials in the 400 in 45.18.

Steele, who finished fifth at the senior trails in 45.38, was chosen over in favor of Gonzales and Hylton, who was sixth at the senior trails in 45.41.

Hylton and Gonzales, though, were two members of Jamaica’s world championship bronze-medal team that included Allodin Fothergill and Leford Green.

Steele, who was unavailable for comment, left a short message on his twitter account that stated, "OLYMPICS!!!!!! Dun (sic)."

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