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World’s third fastest woman Gabby Thomas excels in Olympics and academics

By Paulina Romarate Published Aug 04, 2021 8:59 pm

Harvard graduate Gabrielle “Gabby” Thomas, the third-fastest woman of all time in the 200 meters, took home the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Aug. 3.

Thomas set the record of 21.61 seconds in the 2020 US Olympics trials; her Tokyo Olympics time is 21.87

While most Ivy League graduates flourish in the fields of politics, business and even in the film industry, for this neurobiology major of Harvard’s batch 2019 it is in the Olympic stadium. 

World's third fastest woman of all time and Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Gabby Thomas. Photo David J. Phillip / POOL / AFP

Thomas finished third in the final run in 21.87, behind Jamaica’s gold medalist Elaine Thompson-Herah (21.53) and Namibia’s silver medalist Christine Mboma (21.81). 

On Twitter today, the official account of the Olympics posted, “How amazing is Gabrielle Thomas?”

Being the Gabby who achieves greatness as her college teammates expected, according to Sports Illustrated, she is also pursuing a master’s degree in epidemiology and healthcare management at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Jiving Olympic and academic careers is already overwhelming as it sounds. But for Thomas, balancing both worlds is what she thrives on. 

“Being in school really makes me appreciate what I’m doing on the track,” she shared with Time magazine during trials.

Besides racing with the wind to the finish line, the New Balance ambassador is also “driven by a passion to reduce racial health care disparities and outcomes,” Time said.

Thomas was previously diagnosed with a liver tumor after winning in the 200m at the Golden Games on May 9. Thankfully, the tumor is benign and no operations were needed.

"One of the greatest gifts in life is our health… I remember telling God, 'If I am healthy, I’m gonna go out and win trials,' " Thomas said on social media.

Thomas’ career-best time of 21.61 won the women’s 200m at the US Olympic trials on June 26, 2021, which is the third fastest in the sport’s history behind the legendary Florence Griffith-Joyner’s (FloJo) world record of 21.34 and Japan’s 1988, and Japan’s Elaine Thompson-Herah’s 21.53 on Aug. 3, 2021.

While awaiting the announcement of Thomas’s win, her teammates from Harvard gathered in an online video conference to show support for their her.

Banner photo by Photo David J. Phillip / POOL / AFP