Jeneba Tarmoh congratulates Allyson Felix after her win in the women's 200-meter dash final, a week after their 100-meter race
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Jeneba Tarmoh decided on Monday morning not to participate in a nationally televised runoff for a spot on the women’s Olympic team for the 100-meter, originially planned for Monday night, reports the New York Times.
After Tarmoh and Allyson Felix set a track and field first by getting the exact same times in the June 23 Olympic trials, officials gave the two women the option of breaking the tie by a coin toss or runoff. They agreed to a runoff until Tarmoh set an Olympics first by refusing to participate in a runoff that could lead to an Olympics spot.
“In my heart of hearts, I just feel like I earned the third spot. I almost feel like I was kind of robbed,” Tarmoh told the Associated Press before dropping out of the runoff. There was controversy over the photo finish judgment that third place was a tie, exacerbated since Tarmoh was called the unofficial third-place finisher until a further review of the race.
Tarmoh's coach in high school, Steve Nelson, described how she believes USA Track and Field changed its rules to accomodate Felix, reports the San Jose Mercury News. "This is a Nike and NBC Sports deal," Nelson said. "This is Jeneba against the world. She feels like it's everybody against her," he added.
She will serve as an alternate for the event, and is already a member of the Olympic sprint relay pool. The two women are friends, and often train together. They report that things are fine between them despite the controversy.