USATF Women’s 200 — Thomas Vowed She’d Bring It

A result she saw on her phone after the semis boosted Gabby Thomas’s motivation. (VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN)

GABBY THOMAS was feeling pretty good about her world-leading 21.86 in the semis when she went on her phone and saw results from the Jamaican Trials. Shericka Jackson had clocked 21.71.

“It put me immediately into a different mindset,” said Thomas. In her next race — as well as in Budapest if she were to make her first Worlds team at age 26 — “I need to bring it.”

Running out of lane 8 in the final, the Olympic bronze medalist knew she had to be in the mix at halfway and followed coach Tonja Buford-Bailey’s instruction to “work the turn.”

Thomas commanded the straightaway, overtaking Sha’Carri Richardson to deny her the first women’s 100/200 sweep since Torri Edwards in ’03. Thomas also reclaimed her title and the world lead while lowering her own meet record.

With her stunning 21.60, the fastest ever out of lane 8, she shaved 0.01 off her PR (set at the ’21 OT) and now has the Nos. 6 & 7 performances of all time.

Some of Thomas’ strength can be attributed to her flirtation with the 400 this season. She also skipped the 100 rounds here, so her legs were fresh.

But Thomas was also fueled by her frustration in ’22, when she struggled with injury and was in tears after placing 8th in the 200. “Coming here last year and being injured was really heartbreaking for me, so I was really ready this year,” Thomas said. “I wanted it more than I think anyone.”

However, Thomas wasn’t sure what to expect emotionally or physically. “You’re kind of off your game a little bit,” she said. “Your confidence is a little shot.”

Now it has been restored.

Richardson, who blazed to a wind-aided 21.61 in the first round and then hit the brakes hard at the close of her 22.18 semi, ran a PR 21.94.

Kayla White was 3rd with a PR 22.01 after placing 7th last year. She held off defending champ and pre-meet favorite Abby Steiner, who clocked a season-best 22.07. Steiner has battled a bone spur in her heel in her first full year as a pro and plans to undergo surgery.

TeeTee Terry also posted a PR 22.17 in 5th, followed by the other two WC members from ’22, Jenna Prandini (22.43) and Tamara Clark (22.45).

High school phenom Mia Brahe-Pedersen, competing in her second final of the meet, was 8th in 22.65 after taking 7th in the 100.

Thomas said she still has vivid memories of her first national final, the ’16 OT after her frosh year at Harvard. “I remember thinking, ‘I am so out of my element here,’” she said. “I got 6th and I was happy with that. I figured I’d graduate and get a regular job, but here I am still running and doing well, so it’s amazing.”


(July 09; wind –0.4)

1. Gabby Thomas (NBal) 21.60 PR (WL, AL) (4, 6 W; 2, 3 A) (lane-8 record);

2. Sha’Carri Richardson (Nike) 21.94 PR;

3. Kayla White (Nike) 22.01 PR;

4. Abby Steiner (Puma) 22.07;

5. TeeTee Terry (Nike) 22.17 PR;

6. Jenna Prandini (Puma) 22.43;

7. Tamara Clark (adidas) 22.45;

8. Mia Brahe-Pedersen (Nike) 22.65.

(lanes: 2. Prandini; 3. Brahe-Pedersen; 4. Terry; 5. Richardson; 6. Clark; 7. Steiner; 8. Thomas; 9. White)

(RT: 0.165 Richardson; 0.172 White; 0.205 Prandini; 0.208 Steiner; 0.211 Terry; 0.214 Clark; 0.226 Thomas; 0.263 Brahe-Pedersen)

HEATS (July 08)

I(1.1)–1. Thomas 22.28; 2. White 22.62; 3. Mariah Ayers (Bay) 22.71; 4. Kennedy Blackmon (Ok) 22.97; 5. Jayla Jamison (SC) 23.17; 6. Ezinne Abba (Tx) 23.30.

II(2.6)–1. Richardson 21.61w (a-c WL, AL) (a-c: =4, =6 W; =2, =3 A);

2. Caisja Chandler (USC) 22.32w; 3. Anavia Battle (adidas) 22.49w; 4. Candace Hill (Asics) 22.53w; 5. Shannon Ray (adidas) 22.78w; 6. Kyra Jefferson (unat) 22.80w.

III(0.2)–1. Clark 22.05 (=AL);

2. Steiner 22.31; 3. Prandini 22.58; 4. Jacious Sears (Tn) 22.72; 5. Karimah Davis (Ky) 23.06; 6. Angie Annelus (adidas) 23.11; 7. Jassani Carter (unat) 23.15; 8. Kynnedy Flannel (Fl) 23.69.

IV(2.0)–1. Terry 22.38 PR; 2. McKenzie Long (Ms) 22.75; 3. Brahe-Pedersen 22.97; 4. Cambrea Sturgis (adidas) 23.09; 5. Jada Baylark (unat) 23.42; 6. Divonne Franklin (CalPA) 23.48; 7. Halle Bieber (Duke) 23.57.

SEMIS (July 09)

I(-0.2)–1. Richardson 22.18; 2. Steiner 22.38; 3. Terry 22.38 =PR; 4. Brahe-Pedersen 22.58; 5. Long 22.61; 6. Battle 22.76; 7. Hill 23.04; 8. Jefferson 23.08.

II(0.9)–1. Thomas 21.86 (WL, AL);

2. Clark 22.02; 3. White 22.17; 4. Prandini 22.42; 5. Chandler 22.59; 6. Ayers 22.61; 7. Sears 22.62; 8. Ray 23.29.