Sprinters’ Runoff May Be All Off

That amazing photo-finish, third-place tie in the women’s 100-meter sprint at the U.S. Olympic trials seemed headed for a resolution with the word that Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh would have a two-woman runoff today.

But now there’s this:

– “According to a source … Sunday evening Tarmoh had decided to pull out of the race, although she had not officially withdrawn,” reports Sports Illustrated‘s Tim Layden.

– “Sprinter Jeneba Tarmoh is reconsidering her decision to take part in the race against training partner Allyson Felix, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation,” says The Associated Press.

– NBC Sports, which is set to to televise a runoff at 8 p.m. ET this evening, is saying that Layden’s report means “the outcome of an 11-second race that has taken nearly nine days to reconcile” may be even further delayed.

As you may recall from our earlier post, on June 23 Felix and Tarmoh both hit the finish line in what race officials later says was a dead heat. The issue of who came in third in that race is important because only the top three would qualify to run that event for Team USA in the London Olympics.

Since that photo finish in the 100, Felix has gone on to win the 200-meter sprint at the trials. So she’s on Team USA no matter what happens in the 100. Tarmoh, as The Register-Guard reports, finished fifth in the 200.

Earlier today on Morning Edition, NPR’s Tom Goldman said it was Felix who might decide not to take part in a runoff with Tarmoh, if she (Felix) isn’t feeling quite right. He just told us that officials at USA Track & Field told him an email a short time ago that as far as they know the runoff is still on.

As for what happens if one or both of the sprinters declines to participate in a runoff, that possibility isn’t specifically covered in the rules set out by UST&F.

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