A little more than a week ago you may remember that Jeneba Tarmoh and her training partner Allyson Felix tied during the Olympic trials in the 100-meter, a spot that would take someone to the Olympic Games in London to compete in that race.
During that time the USA Track and Field officials decided that to end this issue and have a “considerably” fair result the two women would have a run-off on primetime television, NBC, the home of the London Games.
Well, as fate would have it, this morning Jeneba Tarmoh released a statement through her agent saying she has decided not race tonight and will forfeit her spot and become an alternate for the race. A statement by USATF released a statement two hours later not explaining the decision by Tarmoh but only confirming that she does understand her position now as an alternate if she does not participate.
“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 4x100m relay,” the statement said.
However, an interview later with NBC revealed that Tarmoh felt pressured by Olympic officials to make a hurried decision and her heart just wasn’t in the race:
“I felt pressured into having to make a decision. They said, ‘Do you want to concede or do you want to run?’ I was like, ‘Are those my only two options?’ They said yes, so I said, ‘Yes, I will run….I just had a whole lot of emotions and was heartbroken because in my mind, I felt like my joy was kind of taken after hearing that I got third. My legs were also really tired. With that said, it was more the emotional part. It would have been unfair to myself if I went out there not wholeheartedly.”
According to USA Today, USATF president Stephanie Hightower said in a statement “We are disappointed that Jeneba has changed her mind regarding her position on the Olympic Team. We all worked hard to reach a consensus on the tiebreaker, but we know that Allyson, Carmelita and Tianna will represent Team USA well.”
While everyone else is reeling, Tarmoh is at peace:
“Throughout the process I didn’t want to run again. It just didn’t feel right. I’m a very prayerful person and my heart wasn’t at peace, at ease with the thought of running again. Once I made this final decision, I was so at peace it was crazy. I probably laughed and smiled for the first time in days.”
It’s a hard pill to swallow but I can’t honestly say that I would have done or not done the run-off. I’m sure that this decision from Jeneba did not come easily since it’s every athletes’ dream to participate in the Olympic Games. Jeneba took a high road which cost her a lot in the end.
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