New Jersey's English Gardner, who ran on the gold medal winning 4x100-meter relay for the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, has confirmed that she's been added to the U.S. Olympic Team.
Gardner, a 2010 graduate of Eastern High School, overcame a bout with COVID to place sixth in the 100m dash at the U.S. Olympic Trials last month. In the semifinals, Gardner ran her fastest time in five years with a 10.96 in the before running 11.16 (1.0 headwind) to place sixth place in the final.
The 29-year-old Gardner, who was chosen for the U.S 4x100 relay pool, added that she was selected to the Olympic Team relay pool before U.S. Trials 100 champion Sha'Carri Richardson was recently dealt a one-month suspension after testing positive for smoking weed. Richardson's positive test automatically disqualified her result in the 100 from the Trials, which means she can't run at the Olympics in Tokyo.
Jenna Prandini, fourth in the trials in the 100, has taken Richardson's spot on the U.S. Team in the 100, and Gabby Thomas, fifth in the 100 at the trials, has been added as the alternate in the 100. Thomas and Prandini also qualified in for the 200 in Tokyo by finishing 1-2 at the Trials with Thomas winning in 21.61, the second fastest time ever run.
With the combination of Gardner's big race/big meet experience and the workload that Prandini and Thomas have scheduled, there's good chance that Gardner will at least get an opportunity to run in the opening round of the 4x100 relay, and perhaps she will earn a spot in the lineup that competes in the final should the U.S. advance. And who knows, with Prandini and Thomas already in the 200, which is their stronger race, maybe a spot opens up for Gardner to get a shot at running the 100? Stay tuned?
Gardner's resume is simply remarkable.
After completing one of the greatest careers in NJ history at Eastern High where she racked up six Meet of Champions titles, Gardner went on to become a five-time NCAA champion at the University of Oregon, winning two 100m titles, two 4×400 titles, and an indoor 60m dash title. Gardner qualified for the 2013 World Championships in Moscow after winning the 100m at the 2013 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 10.85, and just missed the podium in Moscow with a fourth-place finish in the 100 in 10.97.
Then in 2016, Gardner had her greatest season ever when she won the 100m at the U.S. Olympic Trials in a personal best 10.74. Then at the Rio Olympics, she finished seventh in the 100 final in 10.94. Gardner bounced back from the 100 final by running a huge third leg on the 4x100 to help the U.S. secure the Olympic gold medal with a time of 41.01, the second fastest time ever run in the world. Gardner was joined by Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, and Torie Bowie on the relay squad.
Will Gardner add another Olympic gold medal to her trophy case? Time will tell, but it's sure great to see her have another chance.