Olympics: Florence’s Gabby Thomas anchors USA to silver medal in 4x100 relay

  • From left, The United States, silver, Jamaica, gold, and Britain, bronze, celebrate after the final of the women's 4 x 100-meter relay at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) Charlie Riedel—AP

  • From left, The United States, silver, Jamaica, gold, and Britain, bronze, celebrate after the final of the women's 4 x 100-meter relay at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco) Francisco Seco—AP

  • The U.S. women’s 4x100-meter relay team, from left, Jenna Prandini, Teahna Daniels, Javianne Oliver and Florence’s Gabby Thomas, celebrate after winning the silver medal in Tokyo. AP PHOTO

  • Team United States celebrates winning the silver medal in the final of the women's 4 x 100-meter relay at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) Petr David Josek—AP

Staff Writer
Published: 8/6/2021 7:27:47 PM

Gabby Thomas minted her second Olympic medal with a powerful anchor leg in the women’s 4x100-meter relay Friday.

The Florence native received the baton from Jenna Prandini with the United States in clear second place and cemented the silver medal position at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium.

The U.S. team crossed the line in 41.45 seconds.

“I’m crying I love this team so much,” Thomas tweeted. “We really did that under crazy circumstances.”

No one could catch Jamaica, which fielded the top three finishers in the women’s 100 (Elaine Thompson-Herah, Sherickah Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce) as its final three legs to claim gold in 41.02. The Jamaicans reclaimed the gold medal after the U.S. captured it in Rio de Janeiro five years ago and in London in 2012. Jamaica hadn’t topped the women’s 4x100 podium since 2004.

Great Britain’s Asha Philip, Imani Lanisquot, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita placed third for bronze (41.88).

Javianne Oliver led off for the Americans down the back stretch in Lane 6. She gave way to Teahna Daniels, who gained ground on Switzerland and allowed Prandini to push the U.S. into second.

It was Thomas’ second medal of the Olympics after she earned bronze in the 200 on Wednesday.

Thomas and Prandini were inserted into the team for the final. They didn’t run in the heats because they’d competed in the 200 earlier. Thomas ran three races in two days. English Gardner and Aleia Hobbs ran in the heats to qualify for Friday’s final and will also receive medals.

Seeing Thomas close a relay strong was no surprise to Northampton’s Lena Gandevia, one of Thomas’ oldest friends who ran track with her at  Williston Northampton School.

“She’s amazing. She always got us in first place, no matter how the rest of the team did,” Gandevia said. “She was a fantastic teammate, high energy, fun to be around. She was our anchor. You could always count on her to do what needed to be done.” 

That propensity continued during Thomas’ college career at Harvard. She helped the Crimson win six Ivy League relay titles across her indoor and outdoor performances.

Ngozi Musa handed the baton to Thomas for all three years she spent with the Crimson before turning pro in 2018.

“She is such a strong and powerful runner. She runs with grace and intention,” Musa said. “The combination of great runners and the right timing creates such a beautiful thing. She has always been really patient in her leg.”

Thomas was also a supportive teammate off the track.

“She would always be there to have a good listening ear and hear what you have to say and support you in what you’re doing,” Musa said. “She has a great sense of a leader. Being calm, cool and collected is not always easy in an environment where so many things are changing. She’d set the precedent for how we’d run.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter
@kylegrbwsk.


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