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Olympic gold medalist considers representing Salone in Rio 2016

OCTOBER 23, 2014 By Sahr Morris Jnr.

London 2012 Olympic gold medalist, Jeneba Tarmoh, is considering representing Sierra Leone in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.

The 25-year-old sprinter, who won gold medal in the 4X100 meters relay for team United States of America at the London Olympic Games, is exploring the opportunity to run for Sierra Leone, which is yet to secure their first Olympic medal.

Tarmoh could be eligible to compete for Sierra Leone despite she was born in the United States by Sierra Leonean parents who both emigrated from Sierra Leone shortly before she was born in San Jose, California, in 1989. And at age five, Tarmoh spent about a year in Sierra Leone before moving back to the U.S.

The sprinter, who was part of the famous 100m tie at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials and the reigning U.S. 200m champion, told Yahoo Sports there’s a chance she could represent Sierra Leone at the Rio 2016 Olympics. “I’m definitely considering it,” she said.

Tarmoh won the U.S. 200m title on June 29, with Olympic champion Allyson Felix not in the field.

In 2012, Tarmoh and Felix tied for third in the 100m at the Olympic Trials, where three women make the Olympic Team in the event. There were no tiebreaker procedures in place, officials determined a runoff to decide the spot, and Tarmoh ceded it to Felix rather than run.

Tarmoh still made the Olympic Team in the 4x100m relay that won gold (Tarmoh ran in the first round to earn her medal but not the final). She went on to finish fifth in the 200m at the 2013 World Championships. Felix tore her hamstring and fell to the track in the same race.

Even with the U.S. title, Tarmoh is the fifth-fastest U.S. woman in the 200m over all of 2014. She is tied for 10th-fastest in the 100m among Americans. Tarmoh’s roots are in the Mende tribe and she still speaks a blend of Mende dialect, Creole, and English to her family.

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