Saturday night’s final of the women’s 100 meters at the 2012 Olympic Trials came down to a photo finish for the third and final place on the Olympic team.
After reviewing the photo images, USA Track and Field officials determined that Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh finished in the exact same time of 11.068 seconds.
USATF officials were meeting Saturday evening to determine the procedures necessary to break the rare third-place tie, which would determine the final spot in the event on the US Olympic team.
USATF officials issued this explanation following the extraordinary dead-heat result:
Timers use two camera positions for photo finishes: one on the outside of the track and one on the inside.
The outside camera is traditionally the one used in photo-finish images. In the women’s 100, the outside camera was inconclusive for determining third place due to athletes’ arms blocking a clear view of their torsos. Torso position is used to determine finishes and times.
Looking at the inside camera images, timers initially looked at the twisting upper bodies of Jeneba Tarmoh and Allyson Felix and interpolated the obscured body positions from the photo finish image. They posted Tarmoh as finishing third in unofficial results on the Hayward Field scoreboard.
Timers then immediately called referees to notify them of a potential dead heat. The photo-finish image, shot at 3,000-frames-per-second, was then analyzed by timers and referees and unanimously ruled to be a dead heat based on visual evidence. Tarmoh and Felix are both officially timed in 11.068 seconds. An image of the photo is attached.
USATF officials are meeting to determine the procedures necessary to break the third-place tie.