Jeneba Tarmoh moves on from runoff debacle

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BIRMINGHAM, England — The scrapes on the right arm of Jeneba Tarmoh are still raw from a recent fall in a race.

U.S. runner Jeneba Tarmoh (left) trains with her coach, Bobby Kersee, in England.  ASSOCIATED PRESS
ASSOCIATED PRESS
U.S. runner Jeneba Tarmoh (left) trains with her coach, Bobby Kersee, in England.

The sprinter’s emotions over the 100-meter debacle at the U.S. trials are far more healed. She’s moved on from what transpired a month ago, hardly giving it a second thought since she’s arrived in Birmingham for training camp.

Tarmoh is a member of the relay pool, her only event after conceding her spot in the 100 to training partner Allyson Felix after they finished in a dead heat for third place on June 23.

USA Track and Field didn’t have a protocol in place to break the tie and adopted one on the fly. The athletes could choose between a coin flip, winner-take-all runoff or one could simply concede the spot to the other.

A full week later, Felix and Tarmoh settled on a runoff. But on the day of the race, Tarmoh elected to pull out of the competition.

She didn’t think she needed to earn her place again, especially since she was originally declared the third-place finisher. She even did a celebratory lap.

That’s all behind her now.

“I’m looking forward,” Tarmoh said after training Monday. “I try to stay very positive and not let what happened in the past affect my future and whatever is going to take place.”

With the sun shining in Birmingham — a rare sight lately — Tarmoh went through a workout with Felix while their coach Bobby Kersee called out instructions.

For Felix, it was a series of starts out of the blocks and sprints down the straightaway. She’s running the 100 and 200 for sure, and possibly the 400 and 1,600 relays as well. She’s going to be awfully busy.

Felix’s primary focus in London, though, is winning an elusive 200 title after settling for silver in her signature event at the last two Olympics.

This could be Felix’s moment, especially after running a personal-best time of 21.69 at trials.

“There’s definitely pressure,” she said. “I’m trying to minimize it by focusing on the things I’ve always done.”

While Felix worked on a little bit of everything, Tarmoh concentrated on getting her handoffs in order for the relay. At a meet last week in Monaco, Tarmoh failed to hand the baton over to Carmelita Jeter on the final leg and the team was disqualified.

“I just couldn’t get it to her,” Tarmoh explained. “So I’m hoping next time it will be better off.”

Tarmoh also fell in the 100-meter race in Monaco when she tried to lean across the line, ending up with abrasions on her arm. Nothing serious, but she had gauze covering her wounds.

“I feel great,” said Tarmoh, who’s San Jose, Calif. “I took a tumble. But I actually feel amazing. It’s the first time I’ve ever fell. I think I was coming in faster than I thought I was and lost my balance.”

She has vowed to enjoy these Olympics and not think about that day in Eugene, Ore.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “Competing for the USA at the Olympics, it’s just amazing to me.”

Tarmoh also will get a chance to finally meet her half brother, who grew up in London.

“It’s going to be great running and meeting my brother for the first time, having my nieces and nephews watch me in my element,” she said.


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