It was the race that would USA Track and Field a good dose of primetime reality television for a sport that is dying a death by a thousand cuts. Jeneba Tamroh suckered punched USATF denying it the splash of publicity that it wanted. The question is, where does the blame fall?
The fact that USATF didn't have any contingencies in place for a tie is beyond belief. This should have never been an issue dragged out over 9 days. As soon as the finish line judge with the help of a committee reversed itself (the right decision in my opinion) the athletes involved should have known the consequences.
Instead after an exhausting week of racing and media scrutiny a 22 year old girl was suddenly was put in an eat shit or die situation leaving her in a hopeless emotional quandary. You could see it in her eyes during Sunday's interview with Allyson Felix. Tamroh was teary eyed as she acquiesced to the idea of a run-off. She didn't want to race again for a spot on the Olympic team that she felt in her heart belonged to her.
Felix comes off as an unfeeling bitch for denying her supposed friend and training partner a chance to run an individual race in London. I think any criticism directed toward Felix is inherently unfair. She is a better runner than Tamroh, period. Felix is doing what she feels best for her number 1 goal and that is to win Olympic gold at 200 meters. She knows barring a miracle start in London she won't medal in the 100. Heck, she won't even make the finals. But neither would have Tamroh. But Felix believes the 100 rounds will hold her in good stead when it comes to running the 200. I get it.
The losers in all of this is the USATF. Stephanie Hightower is a wreck as the President and Chair. But we knew that already after the Doug Logan debacle. Here was a chance for supposed PR genius Max Siegel to step up and sign and polish a turd into a diamond. Instead the turd exploded and left track and field in a world of shit.
As for Tamroh, I really don't feel sorry for her. She had a chance to step up and show some courage. She had a chance to step in and salvage a disaster for a sport she professes to love, a sport that she wants to make a living at as a professional. What she did today was anything but professional. But it's not entirely her fault, most of the blames goes to Hightower and Siegel. Only a 4 X 100 relay gold for Tamroh, Felix and the U.S.A. will help heal the wounds the sport inflicted on itself with this dead heat disaster.