Dain Blanton's hopes of winning another gold medal are fading fast, and Jeff Nygaard is having another Olympic nightmare.

The top U.S. men's pair, flat and out of synch for the second straight match, lost to Canadians John Child and Mark Heese, 21-16, 21-10, in preliminary pool play.

The eighth-seeded Americans must upset the fifth-seeded Swiss pair of Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel on Wednesday to have any chance of reaching the single-elimination medal round.

"We know what we're capable of doing. We're just not doing it when we get on center court," said Blanton, a 2000 gold medalist in Sydney with Eric Fonoimoana.

The 6-foot-8 Nygaard, a two-time Olympian with the indoor team, was routinely blocked and beaten at the net by the smaller Canadians; Blanton again struggled with his serve, committing three faults.

Counting his matches with the indoor team in Atlanta and Sydney, Nygaard is 2-10 in his last three Olympics.

"I'm trying my best to win and it's not happening," he said.

Blanton hinted yesterday that the pressure of the event may be getting to Nygaard, who helped UCLA win two national titles in the 1990s.

"The Olympics is a big tournament and some people don't know how to handle it," Blanton said.

Later last night, Americans Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs overcame a sluggish second set to beat Canadians Guylaine Dumont and Annie Martin, 21-13, 12-21, 15-9.

Canada's Mark Heese makes a set in his team's win over the United States.