The Top 5 Moments From This Past Weekend’s Olympic Trials


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Dead heat finish between Allyson Felix and Jenebah Tarmoh. Photo: USATF

As impressive as it was, Michael Phelps's mustache shaving didn't make the cut. Neither did a lot of worthy moments: Galen Rupp winning the 10,000m, Lashaun Merritt winning the men's 400m, Sanya Richards-Ross winning the women's 400m, University of Texas wide receiver Marquise Goodwin winning the long jump, or Bryshon Nellum recovering from a 2008 bullet wound to qualify in the 400m. Here are the top five moments from this past weekend's Olympic track and field trails. And yes, all of the moments below are from track and field.

Before the trials, some sites mentioned that Lolo Jones ranked ninth in the 100m hurdles. Those familiar with her story know nine is not a good number for her. In Beijing, she clipped the ninth hurdle while leading the race and lost her chance at a medal. She wasn't so sure she could qualify when she woke up the morning of the race. She said in a press conference that before the race she had her sports psychologist on speed dial 1, her pastor on speed dial 2, and her mom on speed dial 3. She didn't need to dial any of them after the event, at least with bad news. She took third place, good enough to qualify for the Olympics. We're not sure sure how much of her finish resulted from a starting line tactic she revealed on Twitter.
Watch the Women's 100m Hurdles

You know who has the first fastest time with a 9.76. While some sites have mentioned a Jamaican sweep in the 100 meters, the sprinters in this race are probably sick of hearing about it. Leading them is 30-year-old Justin Gatlin, who clocked a 9.80 in the finals on Sunday night.
Watch the Men's 100m

Both Amy Hastings and Dathan Ritzenhein finished fourth in the Olympic marathon trials in Houston, missing the cut by one place. In the past few days, each earned a ticket to London. Ritzenhein took third place in the men's 10,000 meters to earn a spot. Hastings won the 10,000m women's race to qualify.
Watch the Women's 10,000 m and Watch the Men's 10,000m

After a photo finish, officials declared that Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh finished in a dead heat in the women's 100m. Unfortunately, they came to the decision after they put Tarmoh at the press table to answer reporters' questions. When one asked her if she knew what would happen if the judges declared a tie, she said she didn't know (3:58). Neither did anyone else. That's because there is no tie breaker in place. It was a tie, as you can see in the dead heat photo above. On Sunday night, the USOC and USATF announced a plan to break the tie. An excerpt of that plan is listed below. The coin toss mention is not a joke.

In case of a tie, the following procedure shall be used for breaking a tie for the final qualifying slot in a running-event final in which a U.S. National Team or Olympic Team is being selected:

1. If either athlete declines his or her position on the National Team/Olympic Team, that athlete will be named the alternate and the other athlete will assume the final available position.
2. If neither athlete declines their position, they will be given the option to determine the tie-breaker via coin toss or by run-off.
a. If both athletes choose the same option, that option will be utilized as the tie-breaker.
b. If the athletes disagree on the tie-breaker, the tie will be broken by a run-off.
c. If both athletes refuse to declare a preference regarding the method between a run off and coin toss in regards to how the tie is broken, the tie will be broken by coin toss.

Run-Off Protocol
USATF’s chief of sport performance, in consultation with the athletes and their coaches, will determine the time of the run-off depending on entry deadlines, travel, practice and competition schedules, and the best interests of the National Team/Olympic Team.
If the run-off also results in a dead heat, the tie will be broken by a coin toss.
Read the Entire USATF Rules and Watch the Women's 100m

Trey Hardee finished second. Bryan Clay ran into a hurdle and didn't make the cut. Those issues were soon forgotten after Ashton Eaton scored a number of personal bests and broke the current world record. Everything fell together, down to the last moment. In the 1,500m, when competitor Curtis Beach saw Eaton running behind him in second place, he decided to slow down in the homestretch. Beach has run a sub-4:00 1,500m. Eaton needed to clock better than 4:16:37. Eaton crossed the line in first place with a time of 4:14. Beach's gesture did nothing to help Eaton win the world record. It did offer a picture perfect finish.
Watch the Decathlon 1500m

—Joe Spring