- Associated Press - Monday, August 6, 2012

LONDON — American runner LaShawn Merritt will not compete in the 4x400-meter relay after being sent home from the Olympics to get treatment on an injured left hamstring.

He pulled up in his 400-meter heat Saturday after feeling a twinge in his leg. Merritt won Olympic gold in the 400 four years ago in Beijing and added another as a member of the relay squad.

The U.S. team has won every 4x400 Olympic relay they have competed in since 1976.

Merritt’s coach, Loren Seagrave, said in an email: “He’s mentally good. He immediately refocused on the task at hand, get everything right.”

The absence of Merritt may pave the way for Jeremy Wariner, who didn’t qualify for London in the 400 at U.S. Trials but was named to the relay. Wariner ran the last lap to bring home gold in 2008.