Mon, Jul 02, 2012 - Page 19 News List

LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS: Still no decision on Felix-Tarmoh deadlock

AFP, EUGENE, OREGON

Allyson Felix departed Hayward Field after a stunning 200m victory on Saturday at the US Olympic Trials without knowing whether or not she has a chance to double in the 100m as well at London.

Felix and training partner Jeneba Tarmoh, who finished in a dead heat for the third and last Olympic berth on offer in last weekend’s women’s 100m, were to meet with officials later on Saturday to decide on how to settle the issue.

Felix, the 2004 and 2008 Olympic 200m runner-up, won her specialty in 21.69 seconds, the sixth-fastest time ever clocked and the best in the world for 14 years, to secure her chance to claim an elusive Olympic gold next month.

“I guess it was all about fighting to make the team,” Felix said. “It has been an emotional time trying to make this team.”

“I was thinking about those grueling days you have to work hard to train and I wanted to leave it all on the track,” Felix said.

The controversy was not a distraction, Felix said.

“Coach Bobby Kersee did an amazing job of keeping it from being a distraction,” Felix said. “I executed. I ran a great race, something I have been working on. It felt like things clicked.”

Felix became the fourth-fastest performer in the event’s history, trailing only the late world record-holder Florence Griffith-Joyner, disgraced dope cheat Marion Jones and Jamaican legend Merlene Ottey.

“I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet,” Felix said. “For so long I have looked at those times and wanted to be on that list. But the job is not done. It’s all about London.”

Tarmoh finished fifth, missing out on a 200 berth. The other prized spots went to reigning world 100m champion Carmelita Jeter, who will have a 100m-200m London double, and Sanya Richards-Ross, who will have a 200m-400m Olympic double.

“It wasn’t a distraction at all,” Tarmoh said of the controversy. “It had no effect on my race today. I have no complaints. I ran my PR [personal record].”

Tarmoh will go to London as a member of the US Olympic 4x100m relay pool by virtue of her top-four 100m showing.

However, the meeting will decide whether she gets a chance to be the first US 100m women’s Olympic champion since Gail Devers in 1996.

Benita Fitzgerald-Mosley, USA Track and Field’s chief of sport performance, and Bobby Kersee, who coaches both Tarmoh and Felix, were to meet with the athletes to decide how to settle the dispute by yesterday, the meet’s final day.

Unless Felix or Tarmoh decline their Olympic invitation, they would have to agree on a coin flip or a run-off would be used, an option Felix made clear after her victory that she did not favor.

“Anybody who would have to compete tomorrow, that would be tough,” Felix said. “We’re all pretty physically and emotionally drained at this point.”

Felix had called the 100m “icing on the cake” before the meet, saying the 200m was her main focus at London.

“We will have to figure it all out,” Felix said. “The biggest part about this is you work hard for it. She worked hard. I worked hard. Those are the kind of things that go into it.”

The controversy began a week ago when Felix and Tarmoh finished in a dead heat for third place and the final Olympic berth in the women’s 100m, both being given identical 11.068 times after a photo finish review proved inconclusive.

USA Track and Field, with no protocol for such a deadlock, came up with a tie-break system 24 hours later, allowing for a run-off or coin flip if neither declines the Olympic berth and saying a decision must come by the meet’s end.

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