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Olympic runoff scratched when runner drops out

Jeneba Tarmoh, foreground, and Allyson Felix cross the finish line Sunday in the women's 100 meters in Eugene, Oregon.

Story highlights

  • The U.S. Olympic runoff is scratched when Jeneba Tarmoh drops out
  • Tarmoh says she understands she will now be an alternate in the race
  • Options had included a runoff or a coin toss for the 100-meter berth
  • Allyson Felix and Tarmoh crossed the line at the same time last weekend

An expected runoff between two sprinters for a spot in the London Olympics was scratched Monday when one of them decided to bow out.

"I understand that with this decision I am no longer running the 100-meter dash in the Olympic Games and will be an alternate for the event," Janeba Tarmoh said in a statement, according to the USA Track and Field organization.

She did not give reasons for the decision.

At the U.S. Olympic track and field trials on June 23, Tarmoh and Allyson Felix both hurled their torsos over the finish line at precisely the same time -- 11.068 seconds.

Even cameras recording 3,000 frames a second couldn't tell who won.

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The two women tied for third place, behind Carmelita Jeter and Tianna Madison. The top three finishers get to take part in the event in the Olympics.

Monday's runoff was to take place at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, according to USA Track & Field. Another option was to leave their fate to a coin toss.

USATF President and Chairman Stephanie Hightower, in a statement, said, "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."

Tarmoh, on Twitter, wrote, "Big thanks to friends and family who support my decision."

Felix already had a ticket to London, winning the women's 200-meter race on Saturday. Tarmoh finished fifth in that race.

In a statement, Felix said: "The situation has been difficult for everyone involved. I had accepted the USATF decision and was prepared to run at 5 p.m. 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. All I can do now is turn my focus to London"

There appears to be no precedent for a dead heat at U.S. Olympic track and field trials, prompting the U.S. Olympic Committee to announce new rules last weekend.