London, England – For Lolo Jones, once again a medal was so near and yet so far away.
On a night when the United States track and field team grabbed four medals -- none of them gold -- the American hurdler again was kept from taking a spot on an Olympic podium for the first time.
It's difficult to say which of her missed opportunities will weigh heavier for the 30-year-old Jones, because both were heartbreaking for different reasons.
Four years ago in Beijing she was the heavy favorite and was one hurdle away from gold before hitting the penultimate barrier and stumbling to a seventh- place finish.
Here in London she didn't even have the best chance at medaling among her American teammates and turned in a season-best run that left her just shy of bronze.
In fact, unlike Beijing, the winner of the women's 100-meter hurdles at the London Games was indeed the heavy favorite -- Sally Pearson of Australia. Pearson won the race with an Olympic record time, leaving little doubt as to who is the best in the world in this event.
Next up was the only woman to beat the Aussie this season, Jones' teammate Kellie Wells, who claimed silver over fellow American and defending gold medalist Dawn Harper.
But Jones and her shot at redemption had already become the storyline in the United States, even if her chances at actually winning this time around were slim.
But, who could blame people for pulling for Jones? After seeing the way she lost in Beijing it's only human nature to want her to get that elusive medal.
After all, the crushing nature of her loss four years ago in Beijing is at the center of Jones' rise to popularity in this Olympic cycle. It would've been special to see her wash away that defeat here in London -- something that winning a medal of any kind would've done -- but it was not meant to be.
In any sprint event, the window of opportunity to be the best is extremely small. Adding hurdles to the mix only makes it more difficult because what happened to Jones four years ago in China could happen to anybody. Sadly, that one bad step she took may wind up the difference between being an Olympic champion and never getting a medal.
Jones said it best herself earlier in the week when she moved on in qualifying: "I don't ever bet on the hurdles."
Overall, it was a solid night at Olympic Stadium for the U.S., even if it was another disappointing one for Jones.
In addition to the silver and bronze claimed in the hurdles, the U.S. men won additional silvers in the 1,500 meters and high jump.
Algeria's Taoufik Makhloufi claimed gold in the men's middle distance race on Tuesday, but Leonel Manzano ran down a surprising silver with a strong kick to the finish line.
Makhloufi won the race with a time of 3 minutes, 34.08 seconds and Manzano was .71 seconds behind for silver. Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco was next with a run of 3:35.13, beating Matthew Centrowitz of the U.S. by .04 seconds for the bronze.
All three men on the podium are first-time Olympic medalists.
Centrowitz was ahead of his teammate during the final lap before Manzano stormed down the final stretch for silver. The Mexican-born and Texas-raised Manzano failed to make it to the final race four years ago in Beijing.
Also snatching an unforeseen silver for the U.S. was NCAA champion Erik Kynard in the high jump. At the start of the competition the 21-year-old was squarely in the shadow of teammate Jesse Williams, the reigning world champion. But, when Williams missed three attempts at 2.29 meters to finish well out of medal contention, Kynard had no problem stepping into the spotlight.
The two-time defending NCAA champion for Kansas State cleared 2.33 meters to win a silver medal at his first Olympics. Only Russia's Ivan Ukhov jumped higher, winning the event with a leap of 2.38 meters
There were three bronze medals awarded for high jump as Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar, Robert Grabarz of Great Britain and Canada's Derek Drouin all cleared 2.29 meters without any previous misses.
Jamie Nieto of the U.S. also cleared 2.29 meters, but not after missing once at that height.
Winning gold in the men's discus was two-time defending world champion Robert Harting of Germany. Harting, who placed fourth in Beijing, won his first Olympic medal with a toss of 68.27 meters, edging Ehsan Hadadi of Iran by .09 meters.
Defending Olympic champion Gerd Kanter of Estonia grabbed bronze with a throw of 68.03 meters.
There were also qualifications for the women's 200m and long jump events and also semifinals for the men's 800.
There were few surprises in the 200 as Sanya Richards-Ross, the American who won gold in the 400 earlier in London, posted the fastest qualifying time with a run of 22.30 seconds. Allyson Felix of the U.S. was next with a time of 22.31 seconds and teammate Carmelita Jeter, silver medalist in the 100 earlier this week, also qualified for the semis.
Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Veronica Campbell-Brown also advanced to the 200 semifinals. Fraser-Pryce won her second consecutive 100-meter gold in London, while Campbell-Brown is the two-time defending Olympic champ in the 200.
Meanwhile, Janay Deloach of the U.S. posted the second-best mark of women's long jump qualifications, leaping 6.81 meters -- .02 less than Shara Proctor of Great Britain. American Brittney Reese also moved onto the finals with a jump of 6.57 meters.
In the semifinals of the men's 800m, Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia qualified with a top time of 1:44.34 and Kenya's David Lekuta Rudisha was .01 seconds behind. Nick Symmonds and Duane Solomon of the U.S. both advanced to the final.