Jeneba Tarmoh officially withdrew Monday morning from the highly anticipated runoff in the 100 meters against Allyson Felix scheduled for Monday evening.
Tarmoh and Felix were expected to run against each other here Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern time to determine which of the two runners would win the final berth to compete in the event in the London Games. But Tarmoh's agent told the U.S. track officials in an email on Monday morning that Tarmoh was withdrawing.
"I Jeneba Tarmoh have decided to decline my 3rd place position in the 100m dash to Allyson Felix," the email message said, according to a statement from USA Track and Field. "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."
Tarmoh and Felix finished in a dead heat for third place in the 100 in the Olympic trials on June 23. Roger Jennings, the chief photo finish judge, originally called Tarmoh the third-place finisher, but his decision was overruled by USA Track and Field and the race was deemed a dead heat soon thereafter.
The runners had to decide whether one of them would drop out or whether there would be a coin flip or a runoff to decide who would get the third and final spot in the 100 on the Olympic team.
Bobby Kersee, the coach of both runners, had suggested that he was unhappy with the rules created last week to break their tie and had raised concerns about the runners being fatigued heading into an additional runoff race.
Adding to the already complex and messy process, the runners said they would not decide how they would break their tie until after it had been determined whether either or both of them made the Olympic team in the 200.
Felix, who has won two Olympic silver medals in the 200, won the event Saturday in a personal best time of 21.69 seconds, the third fastest by an American woman. Tarmoh finished fifth, so her only chance of making the Olympic team is in the 100 or as part of the 4×100-meter relay team.
Tarmoh's decision to withdraw came after questions were raised about the reversal of the photo finish, said Steve Nelson, Tarmoh's coach in high school and a mentor. Nelson has been in communication with Tarmoh throughout the week.
Among those Tarmoh consulted to make a decision was Vince Anderson, one of her coaches while she ran at Texas A&M. They spoke Sunday evening after the events at Hayward Field wrapped up to discuss her options. Earlier that day, Tarmoh had agreed to the runoff but had expressed hesitation about her decision, Anderson said.
"She just feels like she's being wronged here," Anderson said, referring to the reversal of the third-place photo finish.
"There's a lot of downside to running off," he said. "She has the most to lose since she was declared third and she just wants to stand up for herself and what she thinks is right."
After examining the photo, Anderson said he felt it "favored Jeneba by the smallest of margins."
He added that he did not think the stress surrounding the runoff decision created animosity between Tarmoh and Felix, friends who train together.
"I know she knows Allyson is not creating this situation," he said.
Nelson said: "By running the race she acknowledges there was a tie. At this point, she's on the relay team, and my sense is she's mentally and physically exhausted after having to deal with this matter."
He added, "But I don't think she's not running out of protest, I think she feels she won it already."
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