Published July 02 2012
Runoff in women's 100 meters off for now at US Olympic Track TrialsEUGENE, Ore. – The runoff to settle a third-place tie in the women’s 100 meters at the U.S. track trials is off – for now.
Sprinter Jeneba Tarmoh will not compete Monday against training partner Allyson Felix, Tarmoh’s agent, Kimberly Holland, said in a text to The Associated Press. There’s still the possibility the race will be held at a later date.
The runoff was scheduled to be held Monday night at Hayward Field. The last spot in the event for the London Games is on the line.
USATF spokeswoman Jill Geer said Monday morning that Tarmoh had not officially informed the organization of a withdrawal. The tiebreak procedures USATF spelled out in the aftermath of the deadlock don’t exactly address this situation: an athlete commits to racing and then decides not to compete.
It’s another loophole in a process the USATF was attempting to shore up.
Felix already has qualified in the 200 after winning that race Saturday. Tarmoh is eligible to run in the Olympic 400 relay.
Tarmoh reluctantly agreed to the runoff in the first place. She felt she won fair and square on the track nine days ago.
“In my heart of hearts, I just feel like I earned the third spot,” she said Sun-day. “I almost feel like I was kind of robbed.”
Tarmoh leaned across the finish line and looked up to see her name on the scoreboard in the third spot behind winner Carmelita Jeter and runner-up Tianna Madison. The 22-year-old Tarmoh even took a celebratory lap around the track, waving an American flag. She received a medal and conducted a news conference.
Then, she found out about the dead heat. From reporters, no less.
The situation has been a debacle since Felix and Tarmoh crossed the line in an identical time of 11.068 seconds. USATF had no protocol in place to resolve such a deadlock and quickly scrambled to adopt a tiebreaking procedure.
The options were a run-off, coin flip or one athlete conceding the spot to the other.
The athletes and their agents met with USATF representatives at a hotel Sunday to work out a deal, and Felix and Tarmoh chose to settle matters on the track.
Tarmoh, however, was clearly unhappy with the choice.
“This decision was really hard for me to make,” said Tarmoh, who didn’t qualify in her other individual event, the 200. “I was pushed into a corner. They said if you don’t make a decision, you give your spot up. I work too hard to just give my spot up. I had to say it was a runoff.”
USATF has drawn criticism for not having policies in place long before the trials. Most other sports have a plan. In swimming, for instance, there are swim-offs to break ties.