Justin Gatlin says Allyson Felix, Jeneba Tarmoh should mud wrestle

Justin Gatlin jokingly says he wants to see some mud wrestling.
(Lee Jin-man / Associated Press)

Here’s a novel way to break a tie to determine which woman should be the third representative of the U.S. in the 100-meter dash at the Summer Olympics in London: Mud wrestle.

At least that’s what Justin Gatlin says.

At the U.S. Olympic trials over the weekend, Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh finished in a tie for third in the women’s 100 meters. Unfortunately, only the top three make it to the Olympics, meaning one of the two won’t be competing in London. But which one? While Felix and Tarmoh get together with their advisors to determine whether they should compete in a runoff or flip a coin, Gatlin, who won the men’s 100 meters and will be going to London, appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter and floated his idea.

It’s obvious that Gatlin was joking. He laughed immediately afterward. But this serves as a prime example of the different ways men and women are treated in the world of sports. After all, if Gatlin was facing the same predicament, can you imagine a female athlete appearing on SportsCenter and saying “Whoever makes the most money in one night at Chippendale’s.”


You can’t. Because most people treat men’s athletic events as something to be revered and admired. Women’s athletic events are there to make the girls feel better, and don’t they just look so cute when they are competing?

Again, I know Gatlin was kidding. I don’t think he needs to apologize. But what he said does raise a bigger issue of how men’s and women’s sports are viewed.


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