Track athletes diving to make Olympics

When a trip to the Olympics is so close, within arm's reach, what would you expect an athlete to do?

Several sprinters took an unconventional approach to racing that borrowed a move from a baseball player stealing a base, channeling their inner Pete Rose. They proved over the weekend just how much they want the opportunity to compete in London by diving across the finish line at the U.S. Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore. The top-three spots in each event clinched a trip to the London Games and that stipulation had competitors literally falling all over themselves to qualify.

A runner is considered to be finished with a race when their torso crosses the finish line.

Jeffrey Porter successfully employed the strategy, toppling across the finish line to take third in the men's 110-meter hurdles on Saturday.

"I told these guys, 'if it's close, I'm diving across the line,'" Porter told NBC just after the race during an interview with top finisher Aries Merritt and Jason Richardson, who was second.

Porter had some added motivation to risk road rash -- his wife, Tiffany, is a hurdler competing for Great Britain. Another explanation may have been the Allyson Felix/Jeneba Tarmoh flap that dominated headlines all last week in Eugene. During the women's 100-meter dash final, Felix and Tarmoh appeared to finish in a dead heat and a run-off tiebreaking procedure was not decided until eight days later. Tarmoh, who initially had been named the third-place finisher, withdrew from the run-off, handing her spot to Felix.

Bershawn Jackson was not as successful in his attempt as he went into a Superman at the end of the 400-meter hurdles in a bid to surpass Beijing silver medalist Kerron Clement on Sunday. He ended up fourth.

Jackson finished second in a prelim on June 26 to Jeshua Anderson -- a race in which Anderson dove across the line (above, first photo).

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