2012 Olympic Trials: 5 Reasons Why Jeneba Tarmoh Made a Foolish Mistake
Tonight was to be a unique moment for track, and at the same time, a ratings boost as the sport attempted to keep up with the Olympic power that swimming has become.
In the women's 100-meter final at the Olympic trials, there was a tie for the last qualifying spot in the London Games between Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh.
After a long, drawn out process to determine how the winner would be decided, it was finally determined that there should be a run-off to break the tie.
But Tarmoh would have none of it. So to everyone's bewilderment, she conceded the race to Felix.
So after originally winning the race (it was later determined a tie), and then seeming to have an advantage even afterwards with any negotiation, she will end up empty-handed in individual events at the London Olympics.
But whether she was robbed of an event in the world's greatest sports spectacle, the fact that she did not race again is the true crime.
Because If She Thinks She Beat Her Once...
Olympic athletes are known as some of the most competitive athletes in the world, and also some of the most persevering.
So seeing as the work it takes to make the Olympics is so excruciating, what does a dozen additional seconds matter?
If Tarmoh believes she beat Felix and deserves the spot in the 100-meter women's race, then why not race again? Many athletes would consider it a motivator, knowing that they may have been duped, but they're going to try to blow away their opponent to settle it for good.
So with the determination and confidence these athletes generally have, it seems incomprehensible that Tarmoh would step away from a challenge.
Because It Was Her Only Individual Event
Winning as part of a team, as Tarmoh may do at the Olympics in the 4x100-meter relay team, is a great opportunity.
But there's still no reason to give up on a chance to individually represent the red, white and blue.
Tarmoh also missed out on performing on her own in the biggest women's race on track in the entire London Games.
After not qualifying for the 200-meter race, which Felix won, it seemed like even more of a no-brainer that she would run in the 100 showdown.
But instead, she surprised us all by dropping out.
Because It Would Have Been Good for the Sport
The race to decide who did, and did not, reach the Olympics in the 100-meters was turning into quite an appealing watch for those around the country.
The talk of how and when the tie would be settled, the uniqueness of having two racers side-by-side on a track, and the fact that the first time they were essentially dead even, brought a certain excitement and anticipation for the race to be run.
And then Tarmoh pulled out. It would have been an increased draw in ratings for TV, and in general for the sport. Instead, one competitor ran the other way, leaving everyone completely dumbfounded.
So what seemed like a springboard for the sport of track leading into the London Games ended up being a pit it fell in.
Because It Would Have Introduced Her to the World
Well, it seems like this one happened anyway, just not in a good manner.
Before the trials, Allyson Felix was, and still is, considered the queen of the track for the U.S. team. As for Tarmoh, most casual fans had never heard of her before the trials.
But this was her moment, one in which she would face-off head-to-head with the most recognized athlete currently participating in women's track and field.
Yet for some reason, she not only chose to stay in the shadows, but also caused a negative light to be cast upon her.
It was her chance to shine, but because she thought she had earned her Olympic birth in a fair-and-square manner, she elected to not even race.
This is not only a chance on the national stage that Tarmoh wasted, but also made the situation seem like a waste by rejecting a race with training partner Felix, after she had expressed the fact she already was deserving of a slot to London.
Because It's the Olympics
The caption says it all. What could have possibly been going through Tarmoh's mind when she decided to just concede an appearance in the Olympics.
Most of the world would love to have been in the spot she was in, with a chance to go to London to run in the greatest sporting event on Earth.
Then again, most individuals wouldn't be able to put in the work to make it that far. Yet Tarmoh beat the odds and made her way to the pinnacle setting of her sport.
And then she gave away the chance of a lifetime.