EUGENE, Oregon (AFP) — Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh will have a run-off today to break their deadlock for the last US 100-metre berth at the London Olympics, USA Track and Field announced yesterday.
Eight days after training partners Felix and Tarmoh shared third, the final Olympic spot on offer, in the women's 100 final, a meeting between the runners and coach Bob Kersee with USA Track and Field officials settled the issue.
Felix and Tarmoh shared third after a photo finish proved inconclusive and were given identical timings of 11.068 seconds in the race.
The run-off will be staged today at 5:00 pm local time at Hayward Field, site of the Olympic qualifying meet. That will allow US Olympic telecaster NBC to show the unprecedented race during coverage of the US Olympic swim trials.
USA Track and Field officials had wanted a tie-breaker between Tarmoh and Felix to be settled by yesterday. Kersee had pushed for a run-off no sooner than tomorrow out of concern for fatigue by the athletes.
Felix, the 2004 and 2008 Olympic 200m runner-up, easily booked
her berth in the 200 at London
on Saturday by winning the final
in 21.69, the sixth-fastest time
in event's history and best for
Felix became the fourth-fastest performer in the event's history, trailing only the late world record-holder Florence Griffith-Joyner, disgraced dope cheat Marion Jones and Jamaican legend Merlene Ottey — who is still running for Slovenia at the age of 52.
Tarmoh, invited by Felix to be her training partner under Kersee, finished fifth but she has secured a spot on the US Olympic 4x100 relay pool from her top-four 100m finish.
The controversy began June 23 when Felix and Tarmoh finished in a dead heat for third place and the final Olympic berth in the women's 100, both being given identical 11.068 times after a photo finish review proved inconclusive.
USA Track and Field, with no protocol for such a deadlock, came up with a tie-break system 24 hours later, allowing for a run-off or coin flip if neither declines the Olympic berth and saying a decision must come by the meet's end.
Kersee advised his runners to delay deciding about the 100 until after the 200 final on the penultimate day of the meet, avoiding distractions for the 200 but pushing to the edge of the governing body-imposed deadline.