Gabby Thomas smoothly advanced to the Olympic women’s 200-meter dash semifinals Sunday, placing second in her heat in 22.2 seconds.
The Florence native, making her Olympic debut, shot out of the start and led for most of the way before Namibia’s Christine Mboma turned on the jets to beat her to the line (22.11). Thomas ran from lane two, chasing the entire field form the staggered start around the turn. She posted the second-quickest time in the opening round.
“I want a gold medal. I’m excited to go for it,” Thomas said on the USA broadcast.
The three semifinals will begin at 6:25 a.m. Tuesday. The top three runners in each of the seven heats and the next three fastest runners reached the next round.
UMass graduate Heather MacLean also secured a spot in the women’s 1,500 semifinals. She placed fifth in the third heat, crossing the line in 4:02.4.
The top six finishers in each heat advanced automatically followed by the next six fastest times.
World-record holder Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon of Keyna won the heat at 4:01.4.
MacLean will run in the second semifinal at 6:12 a.m. Wednesday. She had the fifth-fastest time in the first round.
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