To say Gabby Thomas does it all would be an understatement. She graduated from Harvard while also becoming the Ivy League's first female sprinter to win an NCAA indoor title, and now she's working toward a master's degree in public health while also attempting to qualify for the Olympics.
In the second episode of the My New Favorite Olympic podcast (below), Thomas — who's been dubbed the "world's fastest epidemiologist" — discussed her personal journey and how the inequities in the health care system have driven her toward her chosen career path.
While studying at Harvard, Thomas revealed that there was one particular class about health disparities among African-Americans in the United States — a class aptly named "Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired" — that left an indelible mark on her.
"It really changed my life and shaped my time at Harvard," she said. After taking the course, Thomas knew she wanted to work in health care, and she began thinking about the U.S. health care system from an African-American perspective.
Outside of the classroom, Thomas also become one of the nation's top collegiate sprinters, breaking the NCAA 200m indoor record and setting several Ivy League records as well.
Then when the pandemic arrived in 2020, Thomas found a new calling. She decided to enroll at the University of Texas for graduate school, and she's currently on her way to getting a master's in public health with a concentration in epidemiology.
Meanwhile, she'll also be competing at Olympic Trials in June as she attempts to earn a spot on the U.S. track & field team headed to the Tokyo Games.
And while she doesn't know exactly what the future holds after that, there is one thing she knows for sure. "At some point," she said, "I do want to use my [Master of Public Health] to go into health care administration and run a hospital and eliminate all of these [racial] disparities and just save the world basically."
"My New Favorite Olympian" is the third season of the Sports Uncovered podcast from NBC Sports. New episodes drop every Wednesday and will introduce you to the most inspiring members of Team USA and the issues they champion. The series is hosted by Olympic trailblazer Ibtihaj Muhammad and NBCLX storyteller Ngozi Ekeledo.