Deciding the Tarmoh/Felix Dead Heat, "Common Law" , Common sense, by James Dunaway, note by Larry Eder

Jenebah Tarmoh, photo by

Common sense is not that common anymore. That is why we asked James Dunaway, our editor at American Track & Field to offer some sensible solution on the 100m third place imbroglio in the women's final....Here is is.

Allyson Felix, photo by
There is in sport, as in other areas of life, a concept known as "the common law."

The common law can be superseded by written law -- as in weight-lifting where a tie is decided in favor of the lifter who weighs less, or at the Olympic Games, where both Felix and Tarmoh would be awarded bronze medals.

But when there is no written law, the common law should prevail.

 Since the earliest days of  track and field as an organized sport, ties have been broken by a run-off.a jump-off, or a throw-off. That is the common law of track and field.

A run-off should be held between Ms.Tarmoh and Ms. Felix during the Trials, to be held at a mutually agreed-on time, and if they cannot agree on a time it should be set by the meet referee.

James Dunaway

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