The tiebreaker to determine third place in the women's 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials has at long last been settled. Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh are scheduled to participate in a runoff on Monday, when one of the runners will punch her ticket to the London 2012 Olympics.
According to a report, the runoff will take place at 5 p.m. Pacific Time at Hayward Field, host of the U.S. trials in Eugene, Oregon.
After the women's 100 final on June 23, it was determined that Felix and Tarmoh finished in a dead heat (at 11.068 seconds) for the third and final qualifying spot on the women's 100-meter Olympic team. The next day, officials announced the tie would be broken by a runoff or a coin flip.
Finally, the runners decided on Sunday to settle the matter on the track in a runoff.
"They both feel they deserve a spot on the team, and they're willing to do it in a competitive manner and a competitive fashion," Stephanie Hightower, president of USA Track and Field, told Graham. "I think it's good for the sport and it's good for them to show their level of competitiveness and passion and drive for what they've been working so hard to accomplish."
"The bottom line is that this is, in my opinion, the best way to be able to resolve this issue."
Felix and Tarmoh, who are training partners, have waited for a ruling on a tiebreaking procedure since the final. The runners each crossed the finish line in 11.068 seconds, and photographic evidence did nothing to help identify a victor, which is determined by torso position.
Third place in the 100—and the final Olympic spot in the event—will be on the line when Felix and Tarmoh take to the track once again Monday evening.
A coin-flip had been discussed as a possible alternative tiebreaker leading into Sunday's decision, but that never seemed to be in the best interest of either athlete. Bobby Kersee, who serves as training coach for both Felix and Tarmoh, expressed this sentiment after the tie.
"Nine times out of 10, most athletes aren't going to want to flip a coin," Kersee told the Associated Press. "Would you go to the Super Bowl and after two overtimes or what have you, have the referees take both coaches to the middle of the field and say, 'We're going to flip to see who wins the Super Bowl?' I don't see that."
And so in the end, the result will be determined by exactly what got both athletes to this point in their careers—talent.
Felix, 2010 U.S. outdoor track 100-meter champion and five-time U.S. 200-meter champion, won two medals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Tarmoh is trying to earn her first Summer Games appearance.