Jeneba Tarmoh backs out of Olympic runoff against Allyson Felix

Jeneba Tarmoh finishes first in her heat in

Jeneba Tarmoh finishes first in her heat in the women's 200 meters at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. (June 28, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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EUGENE, Ore. -- Jeneba Tarmoh conceded the final Olympic spot in the women's 100 meters rather than race against training partner Allyson Felix.

Tarmoh notified USA Track and Field yesterday of her intention to withdraw. Her agent, Kimberly Holland, already had made it known that Tarmoh would not participate in a runoff last night to settle a third-place tie at the U.S. track trials.

In an email to USATF, Tarmoh said: "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."

Tarmoh, who felt all along she finished ahead of Felix on June 23, did not specify why she was giving up a chance to possibly run the 100 in London. USATF president Stephanie Hightower said the organization was "disappointed" Tarmoh had a change of heart.

The runoff was scheduled to be shown in prime time on NBC in conjunction with coverage of the swimming trials. It would have been a boon for track. Now, it's another blow for a sport that's taken quite a few lately.

Felix will race in the 100 and 200 in London. Tarmoh didn't qualify in the 200 but is eligible to run in the 400-meter relay.

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In a statement, Felix said: "I wanted to earn my spot on this team and not have it conceded to me, so I share in everyone's disappointment that this runoff will not happen.''

Tarmoh had agreed only reluctantly to the runoff. "In my heart of hearts, I just feel like I earned the third spot," she said Sunday. "I almost feel like I was kind of robbed."

Tarmoh leaned across the finish line, looked up and saw her name on the scoreboard in third behind Carmelita Jeter and Tianna Madison. After Tarmoh took a celebratory lap, received a medal and held a news conference, she learned about the dead heat from reporters.

The controversy in the 100 overshadowed the entire trials because USATF had no protocol in place to deal with a dead heat.

The situation has been a debacle since Felix and Tarmoh each finished in 11.068 seconds. The options USATF presented to settle the tie were a runoff, a coin flip or one athlete conceding the spot to the other. The runners and their agents met with USATF representatives Sunday, and Felix and Tarmoh chose to settle matters on the track.

"This decision was really hard for me to make," Tarmoh said. "I was pushed into a corner. They said if you don't make a decision, you give your spot up. I work too hard to just give my spot up. I had to say it was a runoff."

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