Former Harvard standout Gabby Thomas shattering her own personal mark, setting the world standard, and clinching a spot at the Olympic Games this summer in Tokyo with her win in the 200 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
In each subsequent race leading up to tonight’s final, Thomas set a new personal record, and recorded the second fastest 200 in world history when she set the US Olympic Trials record of 21.61. On Thursday, Thomas had the best qualifying time in the first round heats, running 21.98 to win heat 4 and clinch a spot in the semifinals.
Thomas was even faster on Friday, running 21.94 in heat 2 with top qualifying time heading into tonight’s final.
She saved her best for last on Saturday and now only trails world record holder Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 21.34, set at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Thomas’ Tumor Battle
A native of Florence, Mass., Thomas, in late May, Thomas learned doctors had found a tumor in her liver. She did not worry at first.
The 24-year-old wasn’t worried when she graduated in 2019 as a double-threat with a degree in neurobiology and global health and health policy. Now, she’s a graduate student in public health at the University of Texas and training under Tonja Buford-Bailey, a UT coach who also heads her own elite group of Olympians and Olympic hopefuls, The Buford Bailey Track Club.
She knew the tumor could have been benign. As days passed, though, she got more concerned.
“The more I started talking to doctors,” Thomas said, “the more they started saying the word ‘cancer.’ ”
Thomas was not only worried about her health but also about how the scare may affect her at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials. A few days before she traveled to Eugene, Ore., tests provided relief. The tumor was benign. It made Thomas recall what she had told God during the weeks of uncertainty: “If I am healthy, I’m going to go out and win trials.”
The Thomas Running Diet
When it comes to what fuels Thomas, she talks about her diet and the changes she made to it.
“I came from college where I was eating in the dining halls,” Thomas said to Runners World. “When I first got here, I was eating out a lot. I would say I was at a C-minus; now I’m probably at a B-plus. I’ve cut out processed foods, limited eating out, and I’m not living in the frozen food aisle. I don’t love cooking, especially for one person, but I bought an air fryer, and it’s been my best friend. My favorite thing to cook is salmon and asparagus, or chicken wings. My go-to salad is a kale salad—I love kale, so that’s a vegetable I can eat consistently.”
“It can be overwhelming to think, what am I going to cook? But one of the tips she gave me was if you have a couple of things you like and can do regularly, it makes it a lot easier. I’m still not perfect, but I feel better, more energized when I go to train or at a meet.”
Thomas on Self-Care
When it comes to the Olympics, all eyes are on Black athletes and self-care, thanks to Tennis champion Naomi Osaka and her decision to be opt out of the Olympics for her own self-care.
“It’s so important to see another Black woman stand up for herself and take care of herself. That’s what I urge everyone to