EUGENE, Oregon (AFP) –
Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh will not settle their dead-heat dispute for the final US women’s 100-meter Olympic berth until after Saturday’s 200m final, USA Track and Field said Wednesday.
In a statement, the governing body staging the US Olympic Track and Field Trials said that after consultation with Felix and Tarmoh and their camps, they will finalize the tie-breaker plan only after 200m berths for London are set.
Both women are entered in the 200, with Felix having taken Olympic silver in the event in 2004 and 2008. Felix is ranked third among Americans this year in the event based on times while Tarmoh is seventh.
Officials will meet again with Felix, Tarmoh and their coach, Bob Kersee, after the 200 before announcing Saturday night or Sunday morning how the third and final women’s 100 Olympic berth will be allocated.
Officials have said a decision must be made by the end of the meet on Sunday.
Felix and Tarmoh finished in a dead heat for third place in last Saturday’s women’s 100m final, a situation for which USA Track and Field had no protocols in place to break.
In consultation with the US Olympic Committee and athletes, USA Track and Field devised a system that leaves the athletes a chance to settle the matter.
One athlete can decline the Olympic berth. If they agree on either a run-off or coin flip, that system will be used. If they disagree, a run-off will settle the affair.
The dead heat has been a hot topic with athletes at the trials since it took place, with few takers for a coin flip to decide a chance at an Olympic podium.
“I’m a run-off guy,” said Jason Richardson, the 110m hurdles world champion. “I want to control as much of my fate as I can.”
Both Felix and Tarmoh will go to London as members of the US 4×100 relay pool by finishing in the two spots behind winner Carmelita Jeter, the reigning world 100m champion, and runner-up Tianna Madison in the women’s 100m final.
But after each coming across in 11.068 seconds and an inconclusive photo finish camera image, only one of them will have a chance to become the first US woman to win Olympic gold in the event since Gail Devers in 1996.
The US team would not have to designate runners in the women’s 100 until early August ahead of the first Olympic race in the event.
Felix and Tarmoh figure to be pressed to talk about the 100m mess publicly for the first time since it was announced after Thursday’s 200m first round. Semi-finals are set for Friday ahead of Saturday’s 200m final.