Jeneba Tarmoh, the 22-year-old sprinter who ran to a dead heat with training partner Allyson Felix for third place in the 100m at the Olympic Trials, is backing out of the run-off she originally agreed to break the tie.
Tarmoh's agent, Kimberly Holland, sent a text message to the Associated Press on Monday morning confirming that Tarmoh will not race in tonight's tie-breaker scheduled for 5 p.m. PT at Hayward Field.
Jill Geer, Chief Communications Officer for USATF, responded to an e-mail request seeking comment, writing "We have nothing new since yesterday's announcement of today's run-off. USATF has not been officially informed of any withdrawal."
This is the latest twist in what has become a nine-day saga to reconcile the result of an 11-second race.
Late Sunday night, Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated cited an anonymous source claiming that Tarmoh was backing out of the run-off she agreed to earlier in the day as a means of breaking the tie for the final ticket to London. His source indicated that officials from USA Track and Field were working to convince Tarmoh to participate in tonight’s unprecedented runoff at Hayward Field.
According to the procedures that USATF scripted, and the USOC approved, to deal with this and future dead heats, should the parties involved not agree upon a method for breaking the tie, the dead heat would be broken by a run-off. There is nothing in the document that indicates whether an athlete not showing up for the run-off would result in a forfeit.
The coin toss is no longer an option. That was only an option if both athletes chose the coin toss or if both athletes refused to make a decision. Felix chose a run-off as her preferred method to break the tie.
Tarmoh was originally declared the third-place finisher of the event June 23, even going on a celebratory lap around the track, being presented a medal and then showing up at a news conference. Only after her visit to doping control did she learn that the outcome of the race was under protest and review.
“In my heart of hearts, I just feel like I earned the third spot. I almost feel like I was kind of robbed,” Tarmoh said on Sunday.