ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I Choose Not to Run!

For those of you who do not follow track and field sports or the Olympics, there was an interesting development in the women's 100 meter final at the U.S. Olympic trials.  There was a tie for third.  It's actually kind of a nice story.  Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh share a coach and train together.  They are friends.  Even a photo finish could not determine who came in third.

Unfortunately, a lot rides on the difference between third and fourth.  A country can send no more than three competitors for each event.  So, nothing's worse than fourth.  Both runners have contracts with Nike and those contracts, according to the New York Times, likely include significant bonuses if the runners make it to the Olympics. The situation is apparently unprecedented.  There is no official tie-breaking mechanism, and for a time it seemed that the two women would run against one another to determine who goes to London.

But Tarmoh is now re-enacting a Seinfeld episode (see the animated version below), although nobody is claiming she got a head start.  Earlier this week, as reported in the New York Times, she announced in an e-mail that she would not run and was conceding her place on the U.S. 100 meter team to Felix. 


Tarmoh was initially declared the third place finisher, but that finding was quickly reversed. According to the Times, Tarmoh is refusing to run again because she believes she already won the race, although she did not make use of the available protest mechanisms.  Her high school track coach explains that Tarmoh is mentally and physically exhausted due to the stress brought on by the tie.  Tarmoh will likely be a part of the U.S. 100 meter relay team, so she should still get a chance to run at the Olympics. 

Meanwhile, the sprinters in the Tour de France went at it for the fourth consecutive day.  Today's sprint finish was won by Andre Greipel after the favored Mark Cavendish took a nasty spill in the build-up to the sprint finish.  Cavendish won the intermediate sprint during the nearly 160 kilometer stage.  Despite getting knocked off his bike at speeds likely in excess of 35 mph, I suspect Mark Cavendish will be in the hunt for a stage win tomorrow. He's also supposed to ride for his country in the Olympics about two weeks after completing the 2000-mile, three-week Tour de France.


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