Two US Sprinters Tied At The Olympic Trials, And They Had No Idea How To Decide Who Went To The Olympics

allyson felix olympic trials track and field tie 100m womensHere’s the photo finish (click to enlarge)

Photo: Getty Images

Things got chaotic at the Olympic Trials this weekend when Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh tied for third-place in the women’s 100m finals.The top-3 runners in the race get to London as part of the US 100m team. Originally, officials ruled that Tarmoh won by 0.0001, but that was later overruled. As you can see in this picture, it was really, really close.

Since USA Track & Field somehow had no automatic protocol in place, officials were forced to make up a tiebreaker procedure on the fly. Here’s what they came up with and released to the public last night:

  • There will either be a coin flip or a run off.
  • Each runner will be allowed to pick which option they want. If they disagree, the tiebreaker will be a runoff.
  • If both runners decide not to pick an option, the tiebreaker will be a coin flip.

There’s a lot to questions about all of this: Why are the runners themselves the ones who decide what the tiebreaker is? Why wasn’t there a protocol in place so the Olympics spot could be decided right after the race? Why would you, in a million years, chose someone to go to the Olympics on a coin flip?

It seems like a run off is the most logical option. But this whole fiasco makes USATF look really bad regardless.

Here’s video of the race (skip to 4:20). Apologies in advance for the poor quality, but we’ve yet to find a good embeddable version:

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