Athletes Weigh In On Dead Heat

Five days after the tie heard ‘round the world, the dead heat between Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh in the women’s 100-meter final has still yet to be settled.  Wednesday morning, the USATF released a statement that a decision would come either Saturday evening or Sunday night, after both impacted athletes have completed the 200.

In a revealing piece from Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated, photo finish examiner Roger Jennings stated that he though Tarmoh won the race, but was unable to prove it through the finish photo.

At Wednesday’s press event, there was no shortage of opinions on the issue, or ways to resolve it.  For 110-meter hurdler Aries Merritt, the perception of switching the initial result from a Tarmoh 3rd place, to a tie, did not sit right.

“I just that think that whatever they put up at first, they should just stick with those results because it kind of makes us look silly,” Merritt said Wednesday.  “It kind of looks fishy and so I didn’t really like that they did that because now there is this big controversy with it, it’s silly now.”

Fellow hurdler Jason Richardson watched the race with a keen eye.  His training partner Carmelita Jeter won the race and he considers Tarmoh and Felix part of his Los Angeles extended family.  “I was very moved because you never want such an important goal and dream to come down to, literally, the milli-milli-mili second or the fate of a coin toss so I know it is very difficult for them,” Richardson said.

Long and triple jumper Will Claye, who is Tarmoh’s cousin, said his family considers her “on the team in the 100,” but wished for a quicker solution to the problem.  “They could have done it in a better way, they could have went to the next part of their body that crossed the line first, maybe whose hips crossed the line first, something like that.”

And what of other possible solutions?   Those varied from the complex to the simple.

David Oliver suggested extending the deadline for team declarations (USATF says the team will be named by the end of the meet Sunday) and building a meet around a Felix/Tarmoh run-off on July 3rd and 4th.  His plan involves inviting network television and including other events that have incomplete Olympic teams, such as the decathlon.  “Wherever there’s an event where there is still one spot where they can get the A standard just let them go out there and compete again. I think that would be pretty cool.”

American record holder in the shot put, Jillian Camerena-Williams said if pressed she would opt for a run-off, or throw-off, but added, “we have things in place for tiebreakers….the next best throw.  We prepare ahead.”

Other press conference highlights:

Jason Richardson comparing his hair to Aries Merritt’s:

“I definitely have the better hair. I definitely think that dreads are a commitment to excellence I find that braids come and go, but dreads last for a really long time.”

David Oliver is a huge fan of the Denver Nuggets and Miami Dolphins, I got his thoughts on both because I’m sure he was tired of people asking him about hurdles:

“I like the squad as is, signed Javale McGee to a nice little long-term deal, he seems like a promising guy, you know, (George) Karl can always develop pretty good talent.  I like the roster.  Fernandez probably won’t come back, maybe we get another shooting guard, and hopefully Miller will re-sign and provide some more leadership.”

“Ah man, I think it’s going to be rough this year, but I like some of the moves.  The coach, I think he is going to be good.  I wish we probably could have got like Flynn.  It’s football, it takes 22 players.  Our defense is super-solid, we just need to execute in that offense.”

Will Claye on whether on not he has another celebration planned involving the Bible:

“You never know, when your in moments like that, anything can happen,…it wasn’t planned.  Whatever comes into my mind.”

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