Runoff at U.S. Olympic trials doesn't come off | Track and field
Jeneba Tarmoh conceded the final spot in the 100 meters on the U.S. Olympic team rather than meet training partner Allyson Felix in a runoff to settle a third-place tie from their June 23 race at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore.
EUGENE, Ore. — It will be remembered as perhaps the most anticipated race never run — the planned runoff that turned into a walk away to conclude the U.S. Olympic track-and-field trials.
Jeneba Tarmoh conceded the final London Games spot in the 100 meters rather than meet training partner Allyson Felix at the starting line to settle a third-place tie.
Tarmoh notified USA Track & Field officials early in the day Monday of her intention to withdraw from the afternoon race, later saying it was because her heart wasn't in the runoff — an event that would have been shown in prime time on NBC in conjunction with coverage of the U.S. swimming trials.
In the original race June 23, 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 took a celebratory lap around the track, waving an American flag. She received a medal and held a news conference.
Then the accomplishment evaporated as the race was ruled a dead heat. Tarmoh was reluctant to take the line for a runoff from the start; she believed she earned the final spot in the 100 fair and square.
"Running in this (runoff) came down to how I felt internally. Would my heart be at peace running or would I not be at peace? If I was at peace, I would have run," Tarmoh said Monday. "My heart was not at peace with running."
Tarmoh and Felix are represented by Nike, but Tarmoh insisted the shoe-and-apparel company didn't play a role in the decision.
"Nobody got any kind of money," Tarmoh said. "Nike didn't even know, in fact."
Tarmoh said she would not pursue legal action to get her spot.
"No legal action at all," she said.
Tarmoh will be an alternate for the 100 and is in the talent pool for the 400-meter relay team.
USATF had no clear protocol for breaking ties such as the Tarmoh-Felix finish. The runoff might have increased interest in track.
"This could've been something exciting for the sport, something new, something different," said Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, whose husband, Bobby, coaches both sprinters. "It would bring people in that don't ordinarily watch. Reality at its best. This is reality. You've got everything — emotion, drama. But you don't have a cast."
Felix, 26, issued a statement that said, "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."
USATF President Stephanie Hightower said, "We could have had an epic moment here for the sport. But it didn't happen."
from 8 to 7 events
OMAHA, Neb. — After qualifying for the 2012 Olympics in eight events, the same number as in 2008, swimmer Michael Phelps decided he did not want to be shadowed by his former self every time he stepped on the blocks in London.
Winning a record eight gold medals at one Olympics was enough.
Phelps, 27, doesn't have the stomach or the stamina to try to recreate his singular achievement. Thus Bob Bowman, his coach, announced Phelps had dropped the 200-meter freestyle from his Olympic program.
"No one should be expected to do that twice," Bowman said. "Once was more than enough. Trust me. It was."
Meanwhile, five Olympics will have to suffice for 45-year-old Dara Torres, who finished fourth in the 50-meter freestyle, won by Jessica Hardy. Torres missed qualifying for her sixth Olympic team.