NORMAN — If there was an actual book on sports rules never to break, Jeneba Tarmoh would have shredded at least 10 of them with her actions this week. The main one being she chose not to compete.
You can do a lot of things in the world of sports and no one would blink an eye. But to just give up or concede is not one of them. And that is what the former Texas A&M sprinter has done.
Tarmoh was put in this position when she and Allyson Felix battled for third place in the finals 100-meter at the Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. Tarmoh was initially said to have edged out Felix and earned a spot in the London Olympics.
However, after Tarmoh took a victory lap, track officials informed her that she and Felix had actually had a photo finish and it was too close to determine who was ahead at the tape.
Tarmoh and Felix were given two options on how to settle the problem. One was a winner take all run-off Monday just between the two sprinters. Option two was a winner take all coin flip.
The two training partners, who also both represent NIKE, both chose the run-off. It would be nationally televised and the winner would represent the United States at the Olympics in the 100 meters. Felix was already going as the top-200 meter runner in the country.
However, the spotlight was short lived when Tarmoh decided Monday she didn’t want to be part of the run-off. In an e-mail to USA Track and Field, she conceded her dream to Felix.
“I Jeneba Tarmoh have decided to decline my 3rd place position in the 100m dash to Allyson Felix,” Tarmoh said in her e-mail. “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 4x100 meters relay.”