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Coach wishes Tarmoh would have raced in runoff against SCV's Allyson Felix

Posted: July 25, 2012 1:03 p.m.
Updated: July 25, 2012 1:03 p.m.

This photo provided by USA Track & Field shows the third-place finish of the women's 100-meter final from a photo-finish camera, shot at 3,000-frames-per-second, during the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore. on JUne 23. Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh, in foreground, finished in a dead heat for the last U.S. spot in the 100 t...


BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — The coach of Jeneba Tarmoh wishes the sprinter would have raced in a runoff against Allyson Felix instead of surrendering her spot.

That way, at least the controversy in the 100 meters at U.S. trials would have been decided on the track.

"You leave it on the field, one way or the other," said Bobby Kersee, who coaches both sprinters. "I think she learned from that."

Tarmoh and Felix finished in a third-place tie for the last spot in the event last month. Instead of racing to see who went to London, Tarmoh bowed out.

Kersee thinks maybe the confusion of the moment led to Tarmoh's decision to walk away. It certainly was a chaotic time.

With no protocol in place to settle the tie, USA Track and Field quickly scrambled to adopt one. The athletes had a choice between a coin flip, runoff or one could simply concede the spot to the other.

A full week later, Felix and Tarmoh agreed on a runoff. On the day of the race, Tarmoh pulled out of the competition.

She simply didn't want to earn her place again, especially since she was originally declared the third-place finisher and even performed a celebratory lap. Shortly after, she learned officials took a second look at the results and declared a dead heat.

Her heart simply wasn't in another race.

Tarmoh insisted earlier this week at practice in Birmingham that she was in a good place heading into her first Olympics. She's a member of the 400-meter relay pool, while Felix will take part in the 100, 200 and possibly both relays.

"Jeneba's going to watch the 100 meters knowing she's capable of being out there," Kersee said. "Next time around, she'll be like, 'I'm not going to be fourth, I'm going to be in the top three.'"

Kersee said the incident hasn't caused any hard feelings at practice.

"Same jokes I heard in April. Same attitude," he said. "Nobody is all of a sudden not warming up with the other or waiting for the other person to take the bus and wanting to take the next one. None of that is happening. Everything's fine."

That's because Kersee had a chat with them.

"Allyson didn't do anything wrong. Jeneba didn't do anything wrong. I didn't do anything wrong," Kersee said. "The bottom line is that I think it was just a new experience that nobody had witnessed before.

"You learn from that and move on."


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