EUGENE, Ore. – Jeneba Tarmoh didn’t think it was right that she had to earn her spot again in the 100 meters for the Olympics.
So a day after conceding the spot to training partner Allyson Felix, Tarmoh was at peace with her choice not to participate in a runoff to break a third-place tie, even if some are second-guessing her decision and can’t understand why she would walk away from a moment so important.
“If standing up for what I believe in and not running because I believe I earned that spot, because I believe the emotional roller coaster they put me through was too much to go through at the moment – if that’s what makes you a quitter then I guess the definition of a quitter is misconstrued nowadays,” Tarmoh told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday.
Tarmoh is still going to the Olympics as a member of the 400-meter relay pool, USATF officially announced Tuesday.
She said the response to her decision has been more favorable than anything.
“That makes me feel confident,” said Tarmoh, a standout at Texas A&M before turning pro last year. “But I do believe there are people out there that I can never convince why I made the decision I made. That’s not my job. It’s not to convince you to understand my position. I’m thinking what’s in my heart.”
The entire situation has been confusing since Tarmoh and Felix crossed the line in 11.068 seconds on June 23.
When she finished the race, Tarmoh looked up to see her name on the scoreboard in the third spot behind winner Carmelita Jeter and runner-up Tianna Madison. She took a celebratory lap and soaked up the moment, hardly believing she was going to the Olympics.
It was all taken away when she learned officials took a second look at the results and declared a dead heat.
“I went from an ultimate high to a low,” she said.
On Monday, hours before the winner-take-all race was scheduled to be take place and shown on NBC, Tarmoh threw in the towel. She wasn’t going to race, not in her emotional state.
“I worked really, really hard to earn that spot in the 100,” Tarmoh said. “All of a sudden someone’s telling me, ‘Sorry, we changed our mind. You didn’t get third. It’s a dead heat.’ It was an emotional roller coaster.”