By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) - American track cyclist Jennie Reed spent 15 years dreaming of standing on an Olympic podium but her big moment was ruined on Saturday when she was stopped from collecting her silver medal.
Reed was part of the U.S. women's team pursuit lineup that surprised Australia to reach the final at the velodrome but she was replaced by Lauren Tamayo for the gold-medal decider against an unstoppable British trio.
"It was a bit weird," the 34-year-old told reporters.
"The lady just called out the three names (Tamayo, Dotsie Bausch and Sarah Hammer) and I got swept away.
"It was a shock. It was a bummer for sure. I wanted to be up there, It's an IOC rule but it's a stupid rule.
"I don't understand it. If I'm given a medal why wouldn't I be on the podium. It's an honour to be there. I wanted to celebrate with my team mates, we did three rides and we wanted to celebrate them."
While there was no question of Reed not being awarded a silver medal, her team mates clearly felt for her.
"We are all in this together," said Tamayo.
Reed retired from the sport after the Beijing Olympics. where she finished seventh in the sprint, but decided to return when the women's team pursuit event was added to the Games.
"I was inspired to come back for a team event," she said. "I wanted to come back to the Olympics because it was a whole new dynamic. We've been through so much, we've laughed, we've cried.
"I'm so proud of these girls because we were fifth at the worlds and we've now got a silver through hard work.
"I said there was no way I was going to come out of that velodrome tonight without a medal."
Veteran Bausch explained the decision to leave Reed out of the final.
"We knew that our best shot was to win against Australia and make it to the gold medal final," said the 39-year-old.
"We set it up like that to give it everything for that ride and the best chance to go for gold was to put a fresh rider in."
(Reporting by Martyn Herman)