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Athletics

The second fastest woman in the world is a Harvard graduate

Gabby graduated from Harvard University with a major in Neurobiology and now looks to seal the elusive 200m gold in Tokyo Olympics.

Gabby Thomas at the US Olympic trials
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Gabby Thomas at the US Olympic trials (Source: AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

By

Naveed Mohammed

Updated: 2021-08-02T07:42:26+05:30

A certain Indian clothing Brand might have given an advertised definition of 'The Complete Man', But for 'A Complete Woman', what does the said Lady possess? Gabby Thomas comes close, with an answer of Brains, Beauty, Athleticism and a desire for Public service.

Gabrielle' Gabby' Thomas, 24, with a 21.61s run at the Athletics US trials, achieved the monumental feat of becoming the second-fastest Woman ever, over 200m on route to booking her spot at the Tokyo Olympics.

Gabby's achievements on Track are not the only highlight of her resume; she is also a Harvard graduate who majored in Neurobiology. Just as is a practice in US Collegiates, Gabby was scouted and recruited by Harvard to compete in 100m, 200m, Long jump and Triple jump.


During her stint at Harvard, Thomas won 22 conference titles in 6 different events in 3 years, setting Ivy school records in 100m, 200m and indoor 60m. Thomas let go of her collegiate eligibility in her final year at Harvard to turn pro as she signed with New Balance. Gabby did not just limit herself to Track at Harvard and tried to broaden her horizons; one such step helped her choose the path in life she walks.

A class by Harvard Professor Evelynn Hammonds, 'Sick and tired of being sick and tired.' which focussed on health disparities in African-Americans, motivated her to pursue Masters in Epidemiology and Healthcare Management at the University of Texas.

In Austin, Gabby joined the Buford-Bailey Track Club founded by Tonja Buford-Bailey, an Olympic bronze medalist in 400m hurdles. The training group comprising mostly black Women at the club are fondly named the 'Bailey Bunch'. "A training group of all Black women who are all so inspirational and driven and motivated and succeeding… it's very empowering," Gabby told the NBC in an interview.

Gabby suffered a health scare just before the trials when a Doctor recommended MRI for an injury revealed she had a tumour in her liver, which was later diagnosed to be benign. During her stressful wait for Doctor's diagnosis, Gabby decided if she doesn't have cancer, she will give her all and win the US trials. And win Gabby did, in style, leaving the competition far behind.

Gabby, who was inspired to run after watching Allyson Felix race on TV at her Grandmother's house, will now have the pleasure of being on the same roster as her childhood hero, Felix, who qualified for the 400m after finishing second at the trials.

The phenomenal time of 21.61s set by Gabby at the trials has reinvigorated the debate if Florence Griffith Joyner's World record of 21.34s over 200m will ever be broken. "I don't want to say no. I don't want to put a limit on myself. I'm not going to say it's unattainable." Thomas told NBC sports when asked if she can break Flo-Jo's World record.

Gabby will face stiff competition from Dina Asher-Smith, the current world champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Dafne Schippers in Tokyo for the elusive gold.

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