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Gabby Thomas (Neuro ‘19) Earns Bronze in Olympic 200-m Sprint

Gabby Thomas (Neuro ‘19) Earns Bronze in Olympic 200-m Sprint

Harvard alum Gabby Thomas (Neuro ‘19) ran for Team USA in the Olympic Women’s 200-meter dash. In the final on Tuesday, Thomas finished third with an impressive time of 21.87 seconds, just behind Jamaica’s defending Olympic 200-meter champion Elaine Thompson-Herah and Namibia’s Christine Mboma.

TIME reported that Thomas is the first Harvard alumna to win an Olympic medal in a track-and-field event.

As a student, she set eight all-time Harvard records in women’s track, six in individual events and two as part of a relay team. These records include four outdoor events—the 100-meter Dash, the outdoor 200-meter dash, long jump, and the 4×100-meter relay—and four indoor events—the 60-meter dash, the indoor 200-meter dash, the 300-meter dash, and the 4×400-meter relay.

At U.S. Olympic Trials earlier this year, Thomas won the 200-meter race in an astonishing 21.61 seconds, which at the time was the third fastest time ever recorded in the women’s 200-meter dash. The only women who have run faster in the 200-meter dash are Florence Griffith-Joyner, who set the world record in 1988 and now Elaine Thompson-Herah, who won Olympic gold with a time of 21.53 seconds.

Thomas, who concentrated in Neuroscience with a secondary in Global Health & Health Policy, pursuing a master’s degree in public health at University of Texas, Austin. After the Olympic final, she told reporters that she still needed to register for fall classes, saying, “I have to check on that; I’m hoping they might make an exception,” according to The Washington Post.

In interviews, Thomas has expressed a keen interest in epidemiology and addressing global health inequities.

“As an undergrad, Gabby was as a phenom and a leader on the Track and Field team,” says Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies in Neuroscience Ryan Draft, who advised Thomas academically. “Fewer people know, however, that while she was dominating the track, she was also crushing her course work. She took a wide range of challenging courses from biology, physics, psychology, sociology, advanced language, and more. She was passionate about her coursework and a dedicated student. It was a delight to watch her thrive at Harvard and now to watch her on the world stage. We, in the Neuroscience concentration, are proud of her many inspiring achievements.”

Congratulations to Gabby Thomas and to all of the Olympians!


Takao Hensch:”Great news indeed. Gabby kindly mentioned her time in our lab below as well!”

Gabby Thomas

Gabby Thomas