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Fourth-Place Medal

Jeneba Tarmoh was left off the world record-setting 4×100 relay team

(AP)

While the United States' 4x100 relay team broke a world record while winning gold on Friday night, Jeneba Tarmoh was watching on television from the Olympic Village. The hard-luck sprinter, who gave up her spot in the 100 meters by refusing to compete in a run-off at the Olympic trials, had competed in the heats but was left off the team for the final.

Tarmoh had been cryptically tweeting throughout the week about her frustrations with USA Track & Field, suggesting that a snub was in the making. She had expected to be on the finals team, either in Allyson Felix's or Bianca Knight's spot.

When she watched her teammates set the world record -- from a TV in the Olympic Village -- she texted a reaction to SI's track expert Tim Layden. "It's a bittersweet feeling,'' she told him. "I'm happy the team got gold and broke the world record, but I wish I could have contributed more by running the leg I deserved.''

[ Video: Allyson Felix's three-gold performance puts her in elite company ]

Did Tarmoh deserve the leg? To believe that, you have to think that athletes deserve anything they don't earn.

So did she earn a spot (or get "jobbed," as Deadspin says)? Not even close.

1. The women broke a 27-year-old world record. It's hard to say that the right team wasn't in place, particularly on a squad with so much history of bad baton passes.

2. Layden notes that the same women put together a dominating performance at the Penn Relays earlier this year.

[ Related: Why Tarmoh pulled out of runoff ]

3. Tarmoh likely lost any benefit of the doubt when she bailed on the high-profile run-off with Felix. It was heavily hyped for a prime-time broadcast on NBC and she canceled hours before she was set to race. Even if it didn't lead to an intentional freeze-out, Tarmoh's move couldn't have earned her any goodwill.

Tarmoh receives a gold medal for her work in the 4x100 heats.

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