American sprinters won 13 individual medals - including four golds - plus three relay medals in the 2004 Olympics. Despite some key injuries and unfortunate mistakes, American sprinters increased their haul to 15 individual medals, with three golds, in Beijing, and added two relay gold medals. Here are the American sprinters and hurdlers who were considered key contenders entering the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
After winning a silver medal in Athens, Felix hoped to move to the top of the medals stand in 2008, but she couldn't hold off the Jamaican sprint juggernaut in the 200. Felix fared better in the 4 x 400 relay.
The world's top-ranked 400-meter runner had to settle for second, behind LaShawn Merritt, at the 2008 Olympic Trials, then faced off with his American rival again in Beijing.
3. Tyson Gay
It was truly the best of times and worst of times for Tyson Gay at the 2008 Olympic Trials, as he broke records and suffered an unfortunate setback on the way to his first Olympic berth. Unfortunately, physical woes and a relay bobble awaited him in Beijing.
4. Walter Dix
Walter Dix turned down the chance to run professionally in order to finish a four-year college career at Florida State University. The lack of previous pro experience certainly didn’t slow Dix down at the 2008 Olympic Trials, or in Beijing.
In 2004, Lauryn Williams parlayed the third qualifying spot on the U.S. team into an Olympic silver medal in the 100 meters. She was, again, the top American finisher in the Olympic 100 meters in 2008, but she still fell short of the medals stand.
6. Muna Lee
With a surprise win in the 100 plus a strong second in the 200 at the 2008 Olympic Trials, Lee put herself among the Olympic medal favorites in both events. In Beijing, however, she was another victim of Jamaican sprint domination.
An unfortunate mistake kept Edwards out of the 2004 Olympics. A relay mistake helped keep her off the podium in Beijing.
Shawn Crawford led a U.S. 200-meter sweep in 2004, but he couldn't hold off Usain Bolt in 2008.
Wallace Spearmon finished third in the 200 meters at the 2008 Olympic Trials, and almost repeated that feat in Beijing, but a misstep cost him a chance at a medal.
10. Marshevet Hooker
She barely made it onto the 2008 U.S. Olympic team in the 200 meters but was a solid contender in Beijing, where she reached the final.