Jeneba Tarmoh Will Not Race Allyson Felix in Runoff, Surrenders Olympic Spot

Alex KayCorrespondent IJuly 2, 2012

EUGENE, OR - JUNE 30:  (L-R) Jeneba Tarmoh and Allyson Felix talk following the Women's 200 Meter Dash Final on day nine of the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at the Hayward Field on June 30, 2012 in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In an anticlimactic turn of events, Jeneba Tarmoh’s agent has announced that her client will not compete against Allyson Felix in a 100-meter runoff for the final spot on Team USA’s roster for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

UPDATE: Monday, July 2 at 1:50 p.m. ET

USA Track and Field has released a statement from Tarmoh's agent, Kimberly Holland. 

I, Jeneba Tarmoh, have decided to decline my 3rd place position in the 100m dash to Allyson Felix. I understand that with this decision I am no longer running the 100m dash in the Olympic Games and will be an alternate for the event. As an alternate I understand that I will be asked to run if another 100m runner decides not to for personal reasons, and/or on the 4x100m relay.

USATF president and chairman Stephanie Hightower was upset by this decision, but has no choice but to accept.

We are disappointed that Jeneba has changed her mind regarding her position on the Olympic Team. We all worked hard to reach a consensus on the tiebreaker, but we know that Allyson, Carmelita and Tianna will represent Team USA well.

------END OF UPDATE------


According to David Leon Moore of USA TODAY, Tarmoh’s agent disclosed this news around noon ET on Monday. Felix will now automatically run in the women’s 100-meter competition in London.

Jeneba Tarmoh's agent: She will not run today....The Great Race is off.....Jeneba surrendering spot.....

— David Leon Moore (@dlm_usa2day) July 2, 2012

The runoff was scheduled to take place at 8 p.m. ET in Eugene, Ore., and NBC was scheduled to broadcast the exciting event live during prime-time television hours.

It’s a surprising change of heart for Tarmoh, who initially felt she had outright won the third-place spot in the trial eight days ago.

"In my heart of hearts, I just feel like I earned the third spot," she told the AP Sunday (via USA Today). "I almost feel like I was kind of robbed."

Tarmoh never actually wanted to compete in the runoff, but felt obligated to. She said:

"I was pushed into a corner. They said if you don't make a decision, you give your spot up. I work too hard to just give my spot up. I had to say it was a runoff."

It’s also a bit shocking that Felix was not the one who opted out of the runoff. According to AP sources (via NPR), the 200-meter specialist did not feel 100 percent as she prepared for tonight’s now-canceled race.

Felix said her legs were feeling a little exhausted, especially after turning in a personal-best of 21.69 in winning the 200, her signature event and one she is favored to win in London. It was an electric performance that was almost overshadowed by the flap.

That personal best also took a lot out of Felix, as she told the AP:

"If anything feels off whatsoever, I'm just going to speak up and have to pull out of it," she said. "We're both not feeling our greatest."

It seems that Tarmoh beat Felix to the punch in the race to pull out, which is a shame because a resolution on the track would have been much more exciting.