Runner Speaks Out After Dead-Heat Controversy

Jeneba Tarmoh thinks 100-meter results should have been handled better
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2012 9:00 AM CDT
Jeneba Tarmoh and Allyson Felix hug following the Women's 200 Meter Dash Final on day nine of the US Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at the Hayward Field on June 30, 2012 in Eugene, Oregon.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Jeneba Tarmoh is heartbroken over the "dead heat" controversy that kept her from a spot on the Olympic 100-meter team, she tells the New York Times. Tarmoh felt cheated after being unofficially declared the third-place winner, then not learning that the result had been changed to a tie with Allyson Felix for third place until that night—thus missing her opportunity to contest the official results, which must be done within 30 minutes after they're posted. "I don’t accept what happened," Tarmoh says. "They said, 'You won,' and took it away." But a spokesperson for the track organization says that Tarmoh, her coach, or her manager should have been watching for the official results.

When given the choice between ceding her spot on the team, doing a runoff, or breaking the tie with a coin toss, she says she felt like a "puppet." She initially agreed to a runoff because she felt pressured to do so after training partner Felix chose that option. "I just felt like I didn’t have enough time to make the decision," Tarmoh says. She eventually realized, after becoming increasingly frustrated with the way the situation had been handled, that she could not run the race. "I told myself, if you’re running this race, it would mean you’re running with a broken heart, and how well could you do if you’re not at peace?" she says. "How fast can you move if you barely can walk?" The Times has more on how the judges made the call.

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