What if I told you two weeks ago the most exciting element of the US Olympic Trials would be deciding 3rd place in the Women’s 100 meters? Crazy, I know, but such is the beauty and unpredictability of sports. The crack staff at USA Track and Field has finally decided that a run off is in order between Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh to decide the third and final US qualifier for the 100 meters in London.
NBC announced yesterday they will televise the run off from Eugene, Oregon live as a part of their Olympic Trials coverage at 8 PM ET Monday night. NBC plans on cutting into their planned swimming coverage with the match race. With all the controversy and hype surrounding the run off, and the pure excitement of a one v one winner take all race, NBC has to be incredibly happy with how this turned out. A coin flip may not have been as appealing to the masses.
In a larger scale, NBC’s Olympic Trials coverage has pulled in surprisingly good ratings off the backs of the budding Michael Phelps v Ryan Lochte rivalry and the national coverage surrounding this dead heat will likely mean even more viewers. The New York Times has an interesting read on how the race was finally decided after several days of discussions amongst the parties involved. For the record, Felix has already qualified for London in the 200 meters and both women are in line to qualify for the 4×100 relay team.
The rarity of a 100 meter match race and the stakes involved on live national television makes this an event that will be must-see TV Monday night as the gargantuan build towards London 2012 continues.
UPDATED (Noon ET): Tarmoh has pulled out and ceded the spot to Felix. There will be no run off. Dang.