U.S. runner Jeneba Tarmoh opted Monday to concede the final Olympic spot in the 100-meter rather than face Allyson Felix in a runoff after the two women tied in a previous race.
Tarmoh informed USA Track and Field via an email from her agent about her intention to withdraw from the event, thus becoming the first person to cede the possibility of joining the U.S. Olympic team on these games.
I understand that with this decision I am no longer running the 100m dash in the Olympic Games and will be an alternate for the event, the email said, according to the Associated Press.
On June 23, the USATF reviewed a 100-meter race and determined that Tarmoh and her onetime training partner Allyson Felix had tied for third place.
While Tarmoh had already qualified for the 400-meter relay, the 100-meter race was her last chance to qualify for an individual event, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
The preliminary results indicated that Tarmoh narrowly beat out her rival. But upon reviewing the video, the USATF concluded that the racers died. Tarmoh believed she had won the race the whole time.
She just feels like she's being wronged here, said Vince Anderson, one of her coaches when she ran at Texas A&M, the New York Times reported.
Controversy arose because there was no official tiebreaker procedure in place. The USATF told the runners they had to decide whether one of them would drop out or whether there would be a coin toss or a runoff to decide the winner of the race and the final spot for the 100-meter Olympic squad, reported the Times. All parties involved agreed to a 100-meter runoff, scheduled to shown on NBC in conjunction with the network's coverage of the swimming trials, reported the AP.
We are disappointed that Jeneba has changed her mind regarding her position on the Olympic team, said Stephanie Hightower, the president of USA Track and Field, ESPN reported. We all worked hard to reach a consensus on the tiebreaker, but we know that Allyson, Carmelita and Tianna will represent Team USA well.
Tarmoh only reluctantly agreed to the runoff, believing that she won the initial race.
In my heart of hearts, I just feel like I earned the third spot, the 22-year-old said Sunday, reported ESPN. I almost feel like I was kind of robbed.
Felix will now race in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes in London. Tarmoh will be eligible to run in the 400-meter relay.
The situation has been difficult for everyone involved, Felix said in a statement, according to the AP. I had accepted the USATF decision and was prepared to run at 5 p.m. I wanted to earn my spot on this team and not have it conceded to me so I share in everyone's disappointment that this runoff will not happen. All I can do now is turn my focus to London.