After being caught with its pants down when there was a dead heat for the third and final Olympic spot in the women’s 100-meter dash, USA Track and Field came up with a confusing tiebreaker: Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh will decide whether to settle their tie either via a runoff or a coin flip.
Is a possible coin flip really the best way to settle a spot on the Olympic team? I think not. For instance, the tie could be broken with any of these methods:
Penalty Kicks: Line up Felix and Tarmoh in front of a goal and have at it. The winner not only runs the 100 in London, she advances to the semifinal round of Euro 2012. And let’s hope they perform better than England did.
The Supremes: Let Felix and Tarmoh argue their cases in front of Chief Justice John Roberts, Ruth Bader-Ginsburg and the rest of the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices can debate the issue, write their opinions and dissents, and issue a ruling in time for the 2016 Games in Rio.
American Olympian Idol: Settle the tie in that most American way in our current culture: Let them sing or dance on national TV, with a panel of “celebrity’’ judges, prefrrably a Kardashian, awarding scores. Then television viewers text in their votes for the winner. It wouldn’t be fair but it would be the surest way to generate interest in U.S. track.
Royal Intervention: Send both to London, where they meet with Prince William in a posh, private English club. Over cigars and snifters of brandy, have the future king broker a compromise in which Felix runs the 200 and Tarmoh runs the 100. I’m not sure how the runners would feel about this, but it worked very well in “Chariots of Fire.’’