Sports

London 2012: Coin Flip May Decide Fate of Two US Athletes for Olympics

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U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix puts her arm around Jeneba Tarmoh after the two runner tied for 3rd place in the women's 100m race at the U.S. Olympic athletics trials in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo: Mike Blake/REUTERS)

There is news about the runoff election in Egypt; and the runoff in France between Hollande and Sarkozy last month; and there was that runoff in Senegal in March.

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A runoff is about as a fair way to decide an election when two candidates emerge at the top of the scrum, you put up those two contenders, and the public votes again.

But what about a runoff when runners hit the finish line with the same time?

No, these days timing technology is sophisticated enough that someone is going to win, right?

Wrong.

That's what US runners Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh discovered when they sprinted the 100 meters in an Olympics trial in Eugene, Oregon on Sunday.

They finished so close, that not tenths of seconds, nor hundredths, not even thousandths of a second could decide it.

In fact, officials were stumped even after inspecting the finish line photo.

With a limited number of berths per nation at the Olympics, the US has to have some sort of runoff to figure out who's going to run the 100 meters.

It could be an actual runoff, with Felix and Tarmoh going head to head, or it could be a coin toss, leaving it to luck.

With the Olympics just around the corner, US track and field officials seem to be favoring luck.

They don't want to risk injuring their stars in a mad-dash showdown.

And though Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh are friends, a coin-flip may be a test of how strong that friendship is.

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