USA Track & Field is in a pickle right now after sprinters Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh crossed the finish line at the Olympic trials at exactly the same time - 11.068 seconds, meaning Felix and Tarmoh will most likely compete in a 100-meter runoff to determine who gets the last spot in next month's London Summer Olympics 2012.
The dead heat between Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh is the first-ever during the Olympic trials. Only three runners from the trials move on to London, and because Felix and Tarmoh finished third, the two sprinters could either flip a coin or have a runoff.
Preliminary results of the race showed Tarmoh beating out Felix by one-thousandth of a second, although closer inspection resulted in a dead heat.
Both sprinters spoke to the press thinking Tarmoh claimed the third and final London Olympics spot.
To edge someone of that caliber always feels good, Tarmoh said, according to ESPN.com. I'm still speechless and excited by the whole situation. I'm so excited to be on the Olympic team and that all the hard work has paid off.
Felix said at the time that she hadn't given any thought to protesting the result.
That's my teammate who got third and I'm very happy for her, so it is what it is.
Felix, 26, has two Olympic silver medals in the women's 200 meters, in 2004 in Athens and 2008 in Beijing. Tarmoh, 22, is vying for her first spot in the Olympics.
It's unclear how the dead heat will be broken; it's up to Felix and Tarmoh to decide how they want to settle the dilemma.
Bob Kersee, who coaches both Felix and Tarmoh, told Reuters that Olympics officials should wait on breaking the dead heat until the two sprinters compete in the 200 meters at the trials, scheduled for Thursday through Saturday.
They need to leave my athletes alone and let me coach them in the 200, then make a decision, Kersee said. The powers-that-be need to come up with a better decision. This makes no sense.
Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune argued a runoff would be the fairest way to settle the dead heat.
The best way to decide whether Felix or Jeneba Tarmoh gets the final U.S. spot in the 100-meter field at the London Olympics is a runoff race, Hersh wrote. And that seems the likeliest outcome in a seat-of-the-pants scenario USA Track & Field announced Sunday evening.
A 3,000-frame-per-second camera won was not enough to determine whether Tarmoh or Felix came out on top. The camera takes three pictures every thousandth of a second, as reported by Gizmodo.
But Felix and Tarmoh have pushed that precision to the limit, crossing the line simultaneously as far as the camera can tell, the tech website reported. Unfortunately for the pair they both placed third, and the rules state that only the three fastest runners can progress through to the Olympics.
While the camera could not decide a winner, Kersee said the decision would be tough if it were up to him to choose between Felix or Tarmoh.
It would be like, which kid do you love the most? he said.