Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Uncomfortable with your discomfort....

So the big Olympic Trials 100 meter run-off between Jeneba Tarmoh and Alysson Felix was cancelled after Tarmoh chose to concede the third place spot to Felix monday.  Tarmoh says she wasn't really ever comfortable with USATF's decision to do the run-off in the first place, that she felt she had already earned the position fair and square.
Now I get that.  She had done her qualifying victory lap, done the media and then hours later is told actually, it was a tie and we need to figure out what to do next.  I'd be PISSED, no doubt about it.  To make matters worse, it takes the USATF a week and a day to decide ok let's do a run-off.  RIDICULOUS! USATF definitely earned an "F" for their failure to handle a situation that was not overly complicated to deal with, regardless rarity.  Tarmoh and Alysson Felix have every reason to be bitter about how this whole thing was handled.
But a decision was finally made, and it was the correct one.... A run-off that was supposed to be a prime time event.   But something else happened, Jeneba Tarmoh decided not to participate in the run-off and conceded her third place finish to Felix.   Now I am even more ticked!!!!

Young lady, you said running in the Olympics was a dream of yours, here you are on the cusp and you decide to walk away instead of letting your speed do the talking.
As a former track and field kid the Olympics were indeed the ultimate goal, but alas, I simply didn't have the talent to get me there.  I set some goals for myself in college, said if I reached them, I would continue on.  I did not and so all I can do is sit and cheer on our greatest athletes with the rest of the country.... but I digress....

There is a term that we hear regularly when it comes to the Olympic Games.... it's the "Olympic Spirit".  It describes the courage, the strength, the desire that an athlete has and displays in representing their country in one of the most pressure packed environments on earth.  This, Miss Tarmoh, is not an example of your "Olympic Spirit".

Again, I can understand feeling that you've already qualified and shouldn't have to prove it again, but honey, that is called life.  Proving yourself NEVER EVER goes away.  Your decision to just concede because you were uncomfortable with the situation tells me more about your spirit in a negative fashion than in a competitive one.  And now you've done another flip.... after agreeing to do an interview on CNN this morning (Wednesday, July 4th) on what was behind your decision, you decide right before the interview to back out.... You are presenting a trend that no one wants to get saddled with Miss Tarmoh.
If I were the head coach, I have to look at your actions and determine, is this what the heart of a champion looks like?

What if you were to have beaten Miss Felix Monday night and qualified?  If a similar situation had happened in London (Yes, I understand I am reaching here, I am just trying to make a point), would you have decided no, I qualified for the Finals and since you want me to do a run-off, I simply will give up my opportunity to run for gold, out of what..... a misguided principle?
Are you injured?  Is something going on personally that has taken precedence and needs your attention? If that is the case, no one on earth would fault you for that, but that is not what you are presenting right now and my disappointment is at an all time high.

Your discomfort to compete, gives me no comfort if you end up as an alternate for our relay team.


  1. Well said! I'm with you 110%. I was so disgusted that I turned off the TV when CNN announced that she pulled out of even talking about her decision. This is not who I want representing our country. She has some growing up to do first.

  2. I don't think we know all of the story. Who did she have advising her and who was pressuring her behind the scenes? I heard sponsors might have quietly had their hand in. The tv networks also were pushing this race for ratings.
    I think she should have raced because losing to Felix is no shame. However, she probably psyched herself up to the nth degree to race and ran a race of her life. Reaching that peak again could be problematic for someone so young.
    It is said that the trials have the greatest pressure. The USATF screwed this up badly and screwed the 2 runners. The hype for this race went off the charts. Every hour piled more pressure on them. That alone can wear you out. They should have had a procedure in place and handled it matter-of-factly.
    The decision should not have been left to the runners. As you can see, it got too personal and emotional.
    She gets a pass from me because of everything and what I don't know. Did somebody she respected ask her to step back? She will go to the Olympics and learn. With experience and age, hopefully she will be able to handle anything.
    I know one thing. I wouldn't have wanted to be in her shoes as time passed. Everyone needs to step back and give her some room. The excoriation will not help her. She does need for someone who is a respected Olympian to have a long talk with her. However, this 'boil her in oil' and never let her compete again meme is way out of line.

  3. I hear you. No offense intended towards Tarmoh, but she is being naive. I get you are stunned and maybe even disappointed to learn it was a dead heat. When you look at the evidence, and still feel like an injustice was done is just a sign of immaturity. Track and Field has such precision in electronic timing, wind measurements, etc. so again, the evidence shows it a tie. Then to say you are disappointed that Felix "betrayed" by not conceding is even worse in my eye. They run against each other in practice often. I would bet Tarmoh learned some tips and perspectives on running from Felix, so why not want to race with her? Not sure who advised her, but they thought small picture and not bigger. Tarmoh would have shared a unique stage, the 1st runoff to represent her country. Pretty sure an undergrad marketing/PR student could have turned that into a moneymaker.

  4. Reischea, I was of the same opinion, but after reading more of the story (link below), I can't say I disagree with Jeneba. The series of unthoughtful mistakes the USATF made are not to be overlooked. There's a lot more to consider than just running one more race. The USATF was out of line on so many fronts, I have to wonder if there weren't ulterior motives at play. I mean, in what sport is there EVER a do-over after the event has been decided, much less, after the press conference? Did the USATF see an avenue to have the more popular athlete in the Olympics and move in a historically uncharacteristic way to open it? Did the USATF leadership see a payday or some backlash from Felix? By running and losing a race she'd already won, Tarmoh weakens any future challenge she might present to the USATF. Bottom line is that she's going to the Olympics and will at least run on the 4x100 relay. In my opinion, this story is far from over.