U.S. sprinter Justin Gatlin has offered his solution to the conundrum facing USA Track & Field when it comes to the the third-place tie in the women's 100-meter event.
That's what the 30-year-old sprinter told ESPN on Monday. Of course, on Sunday, he suggested Jell-O wrestling, so he may be still working out his plan just like USATF.
Either way, the spotlight only gets brighter on sprinters Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh, who crossed the finish line -- or, to be precise, whose torsos crossed the finish line -- at the exact same time in the final heat of the women's 100-meter qualifying race at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Sunday.
Carmelita Jeter and Tianna Madison crossed the finish line first and second, clinching spots in London for the upcoming summer Olympics. With just one spot left for Felix or Tarmoh, the pair found themselves in an unlikely tie. In fact, the scenario is so unexpected that USATF seems ill prepared to handle it, promoting both a runoff and a coin flip as possible deciders.
"Nine times out of 10, most athletes aren't going to want to flip a coin," coach Bobby Kersee told The Associated Press shortly after the remarkable photo finish. "Would you go to the Super Bowl and after two overtimes or what have you, have the referees take both coaches to the middle of the field and say, `We're going to flip to see who wins the Super Bowl?' I don't see that."
Count Gatlin, who just qualified for the men's 100-meter sprint in London, among those who has no interest in seeing a coin flip.
"If they want to go out there after the 200 and run one more race and put on a great show for America, I'm down for it," Gatlin told ESPN on Monday. "Or a good old-fashioned mud wrestling,"
To the possible disappointment of Gatlin, there is no mud wrestling in the tie-breaking procedures released by Jill Geer, USATF Chief Communication Officer. According to her statement (via FloTrack), the first option is for either runner to remove herself from consideration for the Olympic spot. With that being incredibly unlikely, both runners will be a given a choice between the coin flip and a runoff. If both choose the same option then they go ahead with that means of breaking the tie. If they choose varying options then the result will be a runoff.