Did US Track Star Gabby Thomas Graduate From Harvard?

Published 05/01/2022, 9:45 AM EDT

Gabby Thomas is a rising American sprinter who won an individual bronze and a team silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. She is the third-fastest woman of all time. Earlier, Gabby clocked in a breathtaking 21.61-second result in the 200 meters event at the US Olympic trials. This qualified her for Tokyo 2020. Additionally, Gabby Thomas has a degree in neurobiology from Harvard University. She is pursuing her master’s in epidemiology from the University of Texas.

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Jun 18, 2021; Eugene, OR, USA; A general overall view of sprinters in the starting blocks of a women’s 100m heat, Dezerea Bryant (1), Jada Baylark (2), Ashley Henderson (3), Aleia Hobbs (4), Gabby Thomas (5), Tamara Clark (6) and Morolake Akinosun (7), during the US Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What do we know about Gabby Thomas?

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Gabrielle Thomas was born on December 7, 1996, to Jennifer Randall and Desmond Thomas. The sprinter first joined the track and field team in high school. She continued through college, where she set many records. While Thomas initially had no interest in running track professionally, she was inspired by Allyson Felix. Felix is a six-time Olympic gold medalist and a childhood role model for Thomas. Gabby remembers when she sat at her grandmother’s house, watching the star sprinter rack up medals to her name on TV. Now Thomas and Felix are a part of the same team.

Jun 26, 2021; Eugene, OR, USA; Gabby Thomas aka Gabrielle Thomas poses with gold medal after winning the women’s 200m in a meet-record 21.61 during the US Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas competed on soccer and softball teams as a kid, even joining basketball in high school. But a career in running hadn’t crossed her mind yet. Soon enough, however, her speed on the soccer pitch translated to the running track.

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She set school records and won MVP awards and quickly became one of the best in the state of Massachusetts.

Starting off her track and field career

Thomas’ mother, Jennifer, was a Duke University alumna and wanted Gabby to follow the same path. However, Thomas received a standing offer from Harvard to join the athletics team and compete in the 100m, 200m, long jump, and triple jump. In the end, she chose Harvard and went on to win 22 conference titles in six different events, and set records in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and the indoor 60 meters for the Ivy League. She also won the 2018 NCAA 200m indoor title. All this was in her three years of athletics at the collegiate level. She decided to forgo her senior year collegiate eligibility to turn pro in 2018 and signed a contract with New Balance.

Now pursuing her master’s at the University of Texas, a degree in epidemiology and healthcare management isn’t her only purpose for moving to Texas. It is in close proximity to the Buford Bailey Track Club.

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The Buford Bailey Track Club is a group of Black women helmed by three-time Olympian Tonja Buford-Bailey. Now, Thomas trains under the guidance of coach Bailey.

Thomas’ stint at Harvard

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Thomas was not just an athletic wunderkind but also showed great intellectual ability. In her freshman year, she sat in a seminar called ‘Sick and tired of being sick and tired. It detailed health disparities among African-Americans. This had a big impact on Thomas. While she had enrolled at Harvard with her sole academic focus on neurobiology, public health policy became increasingly important to her.

Jun 26, 2021; Eugene, OR, USA; Women’s 200m winner Gabby Thomas aka Gabriele Thomas (middle) poses with runner-up Jenna Prandini (left) and third-place finisher Anavia Battle during the US Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There, she learned about the Tuskegee experiment. In this, almost 400 Black men were told by the U.S. government they were being treated for syphilis for free. In reality, the disease was being allowed to spread so the effects could be studied. This made her angry and, with a push from her mother, she decided to delve deeper into global health.

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WATCH THIS STORY: Philadelphia Eagles’ Wide Receiver Devon Allen Sets Penn Relays Record in 110M Hurdles With Heroic Run

Not only is Gabby Thomas an Olympic star athlete with a bright future in track and field, but she is also an effervescent 24-year-old on the track to becoming an epidemiologist.

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Mansi Jain

199 articles

Mansi Jain is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. She has a Bachelor's degree in Multimedia and Mass Communication from the University of Delhi and has previously interned for HT Media. When not online, Mansi can be found pursuing the shelves at the nearest bookstore.

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