Gabby Thomas is a top athlete and top scholar, and after a record-breaking run during the U.S. Olympic Track and Field trials, she’s taking her talents to the next month’s Tokyo Olympic Games.
The 24-year-old athlete finished her 200-meter final in 21.61 seconds during the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon, on June 26 by blowing her competition off the field and not only qualifying for the Tokyo Games but also passing every woman in history except for Florence Griffith Joyner. Thomas now has the third-fastest race of all time in the women’s 200 meters, behind only Flo-Jo’s 1988 times of 21.34 and 21.56.
As if being one of the fastest women currently living isn’t an impressive enough achievement, in 2019 Thomas graduated from one of the top schools in the country, Harvard University, with a degree in neurobiology and global health and policy. She’s currently continuing her education alongside her athletic career as a graduate student of epidemiology at the University of Texas in Austin.
Thomas’ win comes on the heels of a cancer scare she had in late May when doctors found a tumor in her liver. Thankfully, test results proved it to be benign. “I remember telling God, ‘If I am healthy, I am going to go out and win Trials. If this is not cancer, I will make this team,’ and that’s exactly what I did,” Thomas said, according to Runner’s World.
With a huge win under her belt, her health fears at ease, and her academic career under control, Thomas is free to revel in her victory and she’s not taking any of it for granted.
“21.61 seconds- best to ever do it behind FloJo. AND IM AN OLYMPIAN!!!!!!” Thomas excitedly shared on Instagram. “So so so grateful to everybody-especially my coach. Sending love to everyone who has supported me up to this point and to my new supporters. ❤️🤞🏽 We’re just getting started.”
Thomas is the 23rd Olympian in the history of Harvard Track and Field, and has set her sights on becoming the first Harvard woman to medal in a track and field event. As far as her current ranking behind Flo-Jo, she admitted after the race that she’s still processing the news. “I have not processed it yet. … I’ve been working so hard, I moved to Austin, Texas, to train for this,” Thomas said. “I still just cannot believe it. I’m so so happy. I’ve been working so hard, and I’m really grateful.”